My grandmother in her 1915-16 Model T Runabout—a single lady with her own car—a trailblazer for sure.
C O L L E C T I O N — This is my grandmother and her first automobile, the least expensive, most basic version of the basic Ford Model T, the Runabout. Notice the driver's 'door' is a blank. The driver entered from the passenger side through the only opening door. It seated only 2, but represented absolute freedom back in those early days of motoring.
Before she died in December 1969, we watched the moon landing on that July 20th together. She told me that in her lifetime, she had seen one of the very first cars to travel through our town in 1899—on the occasion of the death of a prominent gentleman whose family she would eventually marry into. She told me she had seen one of the first cars as a 4 year old child, and lived long enough to see a man land on the moon. Isn't that incredible?
My grandmother loved that car, and it was eventually parked in a barn on the property, as she could never bring herself to sell it. Eventually the barn came down around the time of the '38 Hurricane, but I own parts of the car to this day: I have the steering wheel, the cowl lights, the 2 piece windshield and several headlamp lenses. This is the car she used as she drove around the shoreline of Connecticut with her equally-early camera, shooting portraits of her friends and family. Many of these negatives have been used as images in my current pieces. By using her incredible early photos, I feel as if I'm collaborating with her, even though she died when I was 12.