‘A cheerful smile and a David joke’


To the Editor:

Dodging the parked cars of the Mayhew Lane parking lot, for 23 years, almost daily, I found my way into Vineyard Photo. The iconic Edgartown photo store once was the trusted home for Islanders and tourists alike to get their memories made. Vineyard Photo was a true family business that included David and Sheila Franklin at the helm, with their sons each taking a time to work the business.

Personally, the Franklin family was a wonderful champion of my business and a key component to my success. In my mind, Vineyard Photo and I grew up together. It would not be a stretch to say many photographers thrived during and because of the Franklin family era of business. Not only a class act, but also they were the epitome of professional.

Vineyard Photo closed its doors in July in the summer of 2011. Although the sadness of their closing has never left my heart, it is the recent death of David at age 86 that has brought it all back to the forefront.

I met David in the summer of 1988, while I was working at a store in Vineyard Haven called The Balcony, selling my own hand-painted photographs. David came by regularly. We talked photography and became fast friends. He was a photo expert and came by it naturally, as he had just retired from Polaroid. I was hooked. Gratefully, at that time or soon after, Vineyard Photo was born.

All visitors to Vineyard Photo were met with a cheerful smile and surely a classic David joke. It was all part of the wonderful customer service. I would walk in and with almost a cheer he would say, “LA (as in fa la la) Brown, how are you?” The next words were, “What can I do for you?” His photographic talents were many, but I believe it was his warmth and charm that kept many folks coming back.

Without a doubt, each of us has felt the effects of the digital era. So too did Vineyard Photo. In fact, sadly I believe, David’s declining memory was happening just at the same time as the digital invasion. Even though David’s jokes were still flowing, their store became smaller in size and fewer people were coming in. At this point, Gavin, one of David’s three sons, was really in charge. He and Sheila let me know they would be closing. Truly heartbroken, I asked Gavin what I should do. He said “Go digital, Lisa.”

To say I will miss David is true, but I already had.

Lisa Brown Langley