A Celebration of Spring with the Camera

When my “long time” friend, Barbara Temple Lombardi, agreed to this interview and an opportunity presented itself to share her passion of photography with you, I was very excited.  I guess you could say that we’ve grown up together…in more ways than one! She and I met in the late 70’s, both young and full of energy, and we hit it off as fast friends and still keep in touch after all these years, even though there are some miles in between us now

When I first had a “retail store” in Oglethorpe, with my design business, Barbara even worked for me, and took over when I was out on my maternity leave when Natalie was born….that’s been just a few years ago (laugh out loud).  That’s about the same time that she found her passion for photography and shared her gift with me personally, in my business advertisements, and other people in the community in so many ways……  She even came to Roswell and took our wedding photos back in ’94 for David and me!

Here’s my chance to share with YOU!

Barbara…. Tell us where you came from and how you became interested in photography…

I grew up in a small town in South Dakota.  I’m the eldest of five children.  The only one who escaped those long, cold winters!  I remember in high school trying to take a close-up photo of baby birds in a nest.  When the film came back it was a blur.  I think it was a little 110 camera…not the right equipment for the task!

When did you realize that it was “more than a hobby”?
I realized it was more than a hobby when people were willing to pay me to do it.  What a concept!
What was your first big opportunity with your photography?  Where did it all start?  Give us some juicy details….
I don’t know about juicy part, but I started shortly after I’d taken some basic photography classes at a community college.  I lived in Montezuma, Georgia at the time.  I took a few “One-Year” photos and dog portraits, and a couple of weddings, (which I didn’t like at all…I was more nervous than the bride!)  I’d also shot several conventions for the company my husband worked for.  The pictures were published in the company newsletter.

At that time, I had started shooting pictures for columnist, Violet Moore.  She was published weekly in The Macon Telegraph and News and the Columbus Ledger Enquirer.  We had a blast working together and going places to find stories. I even met and talked with Hank Williams, Jr. at a bluegrass festival.  He let me take photos of him on his bus and showed me his new alligator boots!

What was your first “published” piece?  What is your comment about it, looking back now?  Was it fun in the earlier days with a different kind of camera? (I know because I lived it with you…LOL)

The very first published piece was in the Macon Telegraph and News-front page.  It was for Valentines Day and had two little children…one kissing the other on the cheek, I think!  I don’t have my copy of that anymore…I gave it to the mom of one of the kids.  I remember Violet phoning me early that morning…she said my photo made the front page, but her story was cut!  After we hung up, I whooped and hollered all over the house!  What a great day!

I’ve always had fun taking photos, didn’t matter what camera I used!  I developed film and printed when the kids were in bed.  Sometimes, if I had a deadline, I would send in the film directly to the paper, which meant that I would loose control of the shots that were used.  Violet was my “boss” and sent everything into the various papers. As long as she kept writing, I kept shooting.
How did you start using your photography in Williamsburg?  Is it only for the historical purposes in the area?

I had the opportunity to go to college as an adult.  My youngest daughter was a senior in high school, as I became a freshman in college.  I have degrees in Business Administration and English.  Throughout the four years, I integrated photography as much as I could with electives.  I also worked on the newspaper at Christopher Newport University in Newport News.  That was great fun.  While there I did an internship with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Photo Services department.  I was hired full-time in 1999.  Most of what I shoot is special assignments and stock pictures used in the promotion of the Foundation and its purpose…education.

Tell us about your book….  Is it available to purchase?  Are you interested in other book opportunities?
Lawrence D. Griffith wrote “Flowers and Herbs of Early America”.  Larry was working on a three-year MARS foundation grant project in the Lewis House Garden, when I discovered the garden while shooting stock in 2002.  I processed the slide film and then asked whom I could ask about the names of the flowers.  They were un-like most flowers I’d ever raised.  That’s when I met Larry and we agreed that with his research and my photos, we had the makings of a book.  The rest is a lot of work, and history!  The book may be purchased most bookstores, online and through the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation website.

What are your favorite projects?  If you had to choose just one photo that was your favorite, what would it be?  Can you share it with us?

I really do enjoy shooting outdoors and in the gardens.  Those lovely little flowers never ask me to make then look “ten pounds thinner” or “ten years younger.” It’s very Zen being out there in the early morning hours.
Asking me to choose just one photo as a favorite is like asking me which of my children I love the most!  I think the most intriguing flower is the Nigella damascena or “Love-in-a-Mist.” It is a very small blossom, and when viewed through the lens, it looks like viscous thorns protect the bud, but in fact, they are soft, and when the flower opens, they gently support the petals.  This image is featured on the cover of “Flowers and Herbs of Early America,” and is shown in blue.

What is your “dream” project?
I’ve always dreamed of packing up my equipment and driving across the country shooting beautiful landscapes and interesting people.  Since I’ve moved a great deal during my life, I would dot my travels visiting all my dear friends I’ve had to leave behind.

Are you a fan of digital photography?  Would you have any helpful hints for us?

I really do love the instant gratification of digital photography.  You can make lighting adjustments on the spot just by looking at the histogram. Then again, I do rather miss the alluring smell of fixer from days gone by…

What’s next for Barbara Temple Lombardi?

Presently, I’m working on photography for a how-to vegetable gardening book.  This is the second, and final growing season of shooting.  We don’t even have a working title yet, but be on the lookout!

Click here to purchase “Flowers and Herbs of Early America”
from Amazon

Your Design Homework

Celebrate Spring with me and get this wonderful book,  “Flowers and Herbs of Early America,” by Lawrence D. Griffith and Barbara Temple Lombardi for your cocktail table addition.  It will make a lovely addition in decorating your “conversation area” and add beauty to your interior.  You will be glad that you did!  I LOVE my book!  It’s available on Amazon.com for an easy purchase here.


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