The smiles in Mary’s eyes |

The smiles in Mary’s eyes

Paul E. Anna

If you’ve been to a party, a social event or a charity shindig in Aspen in the last 50 years you likely have been asked to stop and smile by a charming, long-haired lady with black framed glasses who took your picture.That lady, Mary Hayes, has been photographically documenting the coming, the goings, the big dos and soirees of this town since 1952 for her column in The Aspen Times. While photo pages have become ubiquitous in our triumvirate of local magazines (Aspen Peak thinks that photo pages are a good substitute for editorial), there still is no better way to make your day than to open Mary’s column and see your picture. Likely you’ve never looked better.In this digital age Mary still shoots film in her worn, but trusty, pocket-sized Olympus. And showing a loyalty that has lasted a lifetime, she still uses Kodak film because it comes from Rochester, N.Y, not far from her roots in Syracuse. Mary’s Olympus is the fourth camera she has used in her 49 or so years of taking photos for the Times (she took off a few years in the ’50s to have children). Her first camera was a CiroFlex TLR (Twin Lens Reflex), the kind where you look down through the top and point the front of the camera at your subject. She got the camera at Syracuse University and brought it to Aspen where it helped launch a lifelong passion. Since then she has worn out the likes of a Nikon Nikkormat sometime in the ’70s, a Pentax SLR in the ’80s, and, judging from the well-worn appearance of her current chronicler, the Olympus, she’ll need another camera before the end of the ’00s. Add it all up and Mary has seen more smiles through her lens than perhaps anyone else in the history of the world. Think about it. First, she shoots parties, happy events where everyone smiles anyway. Second, she shoots in Aspen, where, once again, everyone smiles. But most important, as anyone who has ever met Mary knows, she, well, makes you smile. Diminutive in stature, she shuffles up, pen, pad and camera in hand and asks gently if she can take your picture. No one ever tells her no as they straighten up, brush their hands through their hair and turn to Mary’s camera, beaming.A half a century, 52 weeks, say an average of 50 people pictured per column multiplied by oh, call it a 50 -1 ratio of pictures taken to pictures published, and you’re looking at well over a million smiles generated by Mary Hayes and her cameras.Can there be a greater legacy ?

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