Reflections on Party Pics

| December 7, 2011
Chris Vaughan – pictured here with his wife Helen – passed away on Dec. 3, 2011.

Chris Vaughan – pictured here with his wife Helen – passed away on Dec. 3, 2011.

This week, I’m handing over The Dish to veteran photographer Jacob Zimmer, who proves he’s as adept with the pen as he is with the camera as he reflects on the passing of The Voice-Tribune reader and friend Chris Vaughan, who was in a car accident on Sunday, Nov. 27. Chris passed away on Saturday, Dec. 3 surrounded by his loved ones. – Angie Fenton, Managing Editor

By Jacob Zimmer
The Voice-Tribune Photographer

It’s late Sunday night and my deadline for six Voice-Tribune photo assignments is just hours away, but I’m unable to concentrate on work tonight as my heart is heavy with grief and full of sympathy for the Vaughan Family and Chris’s countless friends.

Saturday afternoon, I heard the news of Chris’s passing right before heading to work. When I got back to my computer at 4 a.m., I scanned through my thousands of gigabytes of photos looking for images of Chris’ infectious smile and towering figure.  After hours of collecting, I posted them on Facebook for everyone to have.

Chris and Helen Vaughan were Best Dressed Nominees in 2010. We befriended years earlier and the Best Dressed portraits and event photos were just two of the many times I photographed them. In addition to Voice-Tribune assignments, I photographed one of Helen’s birthday parties, one of Chris’s birthday parties and their baby shower when Helen was pregnant with their son Tyler, now just four months old.

My last photo was from Downs After Dark at Churchill Downs just a few weeks ago and it was the last time I saw Chris alive. Ironically, our conversation that night was about the first time we met, and while it is a fond memory, my recollection of that night’s activities aren’t fit for public consumption.

Some other photos I had of Chris were from the Meet Me at the Altar Bridal Fashion Show I directed last summer. A male model canceled on me at the last minute and I asked Chris if he could fill in. Despite his height and good looks, Chris was a banker who worked at a desk, not on a stage. But he agreed to model in the show and did a great job. His willingness to jump in and help me out demonstrates part of his character that I will always remember.

Upon seeing the photo album online, Jo-an McDowell, a Churchill Downs employee and friend of The Voice, wrote me:  “I didn’t know him, but through your pictures, I feel connected.”

Snapshots of people at parties posing for photographers make up a bulk of The Voice-Tribune’s pages. Sometimes, capturing those moments is just part of my routine at work. But as I look at Chris’s smile, read the comments from others looking at these photos,and think to myself that decades into the future, his now four-month-old baby will look at some of these same pictures and see his own reflection in the face of a father he never knew,  I am humbled and touched.

This gig really is more than taking pictures at parties. It is capturing moments of life.

My deadline is an hour closer now, but I have renewed motivation and sense of purpose, for the memories captured from my current six assignments may too hold the warmth and joy contained within Chris Vaughan’s smile.

Jacob Zimmer has been photographing for The Voice-Tribune since 2009.

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Category: The Dish

About the Author (Author Profile)

Angie Fenton
Angie Fenton is Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune, a Blue Equity company. She is also an entertainment correspondent for WHAS11′s new morning show, “Great Day Live!”, which debuted August 22 on Louisville’s ABC affiliate. Additionally, Angie is an entertainment correspondent for the Saturday Morning Show with Ron ‘n’ Mel Fisher on 84WHAS (840 AM) and has served in the same capacity for Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks; Breeders’ Cup; and Circuit of the Americas during the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November 2012. Angie also serves as an emcee, host, voiceover professional and on-camera commercial talent.

Angie has a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Central Michigan University and began her career as an adjunct professor at her alma mater. She is the youngest of five — four of whom were adopted, including Angie, and none of whom are biologically related. She is also a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky in June 2002. Angie is owned by two dogs — Herbie and Yoda — and feels lucky to have loved and been loved by many more, including Pooch, Jessie, Onyx, Jack and Big Bud, who took his last breath on Christmas Day 2012.

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