By: Cheryl Mitchell Wade
Gisele Grant is the third generation owner of Custom Memories, a photography studio founded by her grandfather and passed on to her by
The Grant family has a secret mission: to transport people back in time– through photographs – which allows the time-traveler to correct pastmistakes.
Photogenic tells the universal, moving story of imperfect people seeking a way out of pain and despair. Sometimes salvation can be found by traveling back through time to make better choices, and other times it’s revealed that second chances provided through time-travel doesn’t always produce the desired outcome.
Have you ever wished for a time machine to start over? What would you do if offered the chance to correct your life altering mistake?
William Johnson, a 20 year old college drop-out; and Ramona Hunt a 46 year old victim of domestic violence, both take a trip back in time. Travel with the sincere and idealistic Grant Family of photographers, as they send William and Kay on their journeys to discover if do-over’s are worthwhile, or simply a supernatural opportunity better left unexplored.
Granddad took over the studio following the death of Mr. Van Pelt and operated it for over thirty years. After my Grandfather passed away, Dad relocated the family photography business from Harlem to Oakland, California and renamed it Custom Memories Photography Studio. We continued to offer family portraits and graduation photos, but the name change was more reflective of our specialty service, TIME TRAVEL.
Granddad’s consistent tinkering with the mechanics of things, coupled with his unbridled curiosity with Holland Shepherd’s musings to Ace Porter, eventually turned into a mysteriously, tangible creation.
He lived up to his childhood nickname – the “Wiz”, and actually invented a camera that can send people through time. The inexplicable nature of the invention is that the special camera transports a person back to the time reflected in any original photograph he had previously taken.
The option to time-travel was only available to wayward teenagers or young adults. Granddad provided them with the opportunity to travel back in time to correct life-altering mistakes by choosing a different action than the one that caused their life to spiral out-of-control. Then they were able to return to the present day to begin life renewed on the right path. Sometimes, the youth was transported simply to escape ramifications of Jim Crow policies, or some other racial injustice about to impact his life at no fault of his own.
Granddad never charged the time traveler a fee for the service. The only stipulation he required of the traveler was to keep the service a secret.
I joined the family business long after granddad’s death. After a few years, I convinced Dad to offer time-travel to adults who could afford to pay a hefty price for the service, while still offering it free to juvenile delinquents or utterly directionless youth. Once I painted the picture that the money could help the underserved and economically challenged people within the city, it was an easy sell.
Cheryl Mitchell Wade was born in Newark, NJ and received degrees from Colgate University, Kean College of NJ, and Baruch College in NYC. She enjoyed a celebrated career in Public Administration prior to writing the novel, PHOTOGENIC and its companion Screenplay. get more information at WWW.cherylmitchellwade.com