KATHRYN REYNOLDS Finding Her Past and Her Future Through Photography
At the age of 2, a child’s life and memories are just beginning. Capturing those moments between a child and a parent through photography is special, but in Kathryn Reynolds’ case, those precious photographs became her only tie to a father, Zach Reynolds, who was tragically taken from her just as her memories of him began.
’Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives’ - Anonymous
Most people might assume that Kathryn Reynolds, native of Winston- Salem and daughter of Dorothy Reynolds and the late Zachary Reynolds, grandson of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company founder, R.J. Reynolds, was born with a very expensive silver spoon in her mouth and has lived a life of privilege and wealth. But such an assumption is far from the truth. “Labor Day weekend of 1979, my father, Zach Reynolds, and two sons of our neighbors, along with one of their friends, took off from the Zachary Smith Reynolds airport and within 10 minutes, the plane had crashed and they were all killed. Gary Cermak, our neighbor’s son, had recently gotten his pilot’s license and wanted to take my father and his friends up in the plane he had rented. Although my father had sworn years before that he’d never fly again, due to a recurring dream of dying in a plane crash, he didn’t want to disappoint Gary, so he took his final flight,” recalled Kathryn Reynolds. Since Reynolds was just a little over two years old, her recollections of her father are from the multitudes of photos, film, and newspaper reports of Zach Reynolds’ life. Zach Reynolds was not only a local, celebrity, he held many national and international titles in motorcycle racing, drag racing cars, and pistol shooting. He also had the largest ham radio station in the world at that time, at his home on Wellington Road. Everyone who knew Zach loved to tell a story about him, and his sudden passing was a shock to everyone. “I have two memories of my father. One memory is of riding with my father on his Harley-Davidson, we called ’Big Daddy’ and scraping my arm on a holly bush. The other memory is of sitting in bed with my father with all his 27 Himalayan cats laying around us and sharing a piece of chocolate with him. My mother and my father’s friends have filled in the little I do know of my father with their stories of his numerous successes in acrobatic flying, motorcycles, racing and pistol shooting, My dad, who had studied engineering at Wake Forest, invented things and modified all the bikes and cars he had so much that it later shaped the way those industries went. My dad was a genius at many levels,” stated Reynolds.
With Zach Reynolds’ untimely death at only 41, there were many legal ends left loose. Thus, upon his death, his two year old daughter Kathryn was not in his will. “My dad was so focused on competing that he didn’t like to be bothered with legal matters. I really believe that people think I grew up with everything because of my name, but I worked a job all through high school and still graduated top 10% of my class and on the National Academics Scholars list. I then put myself through college at the University of Georgia, where I was a member of the equestrian team. I am really quite a workaholic,” recalled Reynolds. During her high school and college Christmas breaks, Reynolds worked for her great uncle, Homer Sides, who raises Christmas trees. “One year I had my own lot. My mother’s family are all hard workers and I inherited that work ethic,” commented Reynolds. After changing her major from photography to English, Reynolds graduated and wrote a few national T.V. commercials, had a monthly column in a magazine, and had some of her poems published in a poetry anthology. However, she could not leave her love of photography as a hobby. “I have loved photography ever since I can remember. When I was about 10 years old, I would enter my favorite photos in the Dixie Classic Fair and win ribbons. I also received several national awards in high school for my photography and art.
Although I felt I had a good knowledge of photography, I went back to college at Randolph Community College and received my degree in commercial photography,” stated Reynolds. After working in New York City as a photographer, Reynolds opened her own studio on land adjacent to Tanglewood Park in 2000.
“Photography: making new things familiar and familiar things new” -W. Thackeray
For Reynolds, photography fulfills many of her passions - the love of art, the ability to tell a story through visual media, and capturing a timeless image for her clients. “Because of my past as a fashion model, I love to work with models on their portfolios, but I also have experience in photographing products for catalogs and portraits of families. Everything in a photograph is there for a purpose, to help tell the story,” stated Reynolds. With all the advancements in cameras and equipment, Reynolds finds clients like the immediacy of digital photography. “I use film cameras for some of my personal projects, but clients like to be able to see what we have just shot, and the best way to do that is through a digital camera,” said Reynolds.