March 8, 2016 at 5:27 am
Jerry Jacka's photos hold a special place in Chuck DeMund's North Carolina home. | Courtesy of Chuck DeMund
Waxhaw, North Carolina, resident Chuck DeMund picked up his March issue of Arizona Highways recently and saw something familiar on the cover.
"That Jerry Jacka photo, and the other nine in the portfolio, hang here in my North Carolina home," DeMund told us in an email.
For those who haven't seen it, the portfolio was in the Arizona Highways vault, and no one from the magazine had laid eyes on it until recently. A very limited number of prints of Jacka's photos of Canyon de Chelly were made, and it seems DeMund was one of the lucky people to obtain a set. Here, in DeMund's words, is how it happened.
In the late 1980s, I was the advertising and promotions director at defense contractor General Dynamics. We were the largest employer on the Navajo Reservation at the time, and as part of a corporate image advertising campaign, I wanted to do a print ad about that. I needed a striking photo from the reservation to use in the ad, and as a longtime Arizona Highways subscriber (I grew up in Phoenix, and my own photographic career was launched by a 4x4 Graflex camera that our then-next-door neighbor, Barry Goldwater, gave me when I was 14 years old), I called Jerry Jacka to see if he had such a shot. He said that he thought he did, and I took a couple of my ad agency folks to Phoenix to see what he had. We chose a Monument Valley photo and used it in our ad campaign.
While in his home, I spied some black-and-white prints and Jerry showed us a bound portfolio with the very same 10 photographs you featured on the cover and inside your new March issue. It is a long story as to how the pictures wound up on my family room wall here in North Carolina. Suffice it to say that when General Dynamics "downsized" in the early '90s and left their longtime corporate offices in St. Louis to move to the Beltway in D.C., they left a lot of things behind for anyone to take home.
We kept the beautifully bound portfolio unopened, in the box that Jerry and Lois had shipped it to St. Louis in, through our 15-year stay in the San Diego area after I retired, and when we moved to the Charlotte area in 2007. With a brand-new house here in the South with bare walls, and perhaps with a desire to keep a little Arizona in sight, I opened the box, took the mounted prints to a local framer and hung them in our family room along with some of my own Arizona photographs.
I retraced Barry Goldwater's steps to Hunts Mesa in 2014 to duplicate the photo you used of him in your September 2010 Arizona Highways issue. I was successful in my quest and would be glad to share the results of my effort if you would like to see them. I did Canyon de Chelly for the fifth time on the same trip. I am a fortunately spry 83 years young and look forward to more Arizona photography expeditions.
Keep the wonderful magazine coming.
Thank you so much, Chuck, for sharing your story. The March issue of Arizona Highways is on newsstands now. If you've got a connection to the people, places or photos we feature in the magazine, we'd love to hear about it!