Elizabeth Fenwick

"June & Eddie"
third place Peninsula People

Although she is a professional photographer, Elizabeth Fenwick had never entered a contest before.

"I'm very shy about this kind of thing," she said. "My husband told me I should enter, so I did, at the last hour. I walked in and just pulled it out of my personal portfolio."

Fenwick said "June & Eddie," which won third place in the "Peninsula People" category, was taken four years ago at the Gamble Garden Center on Waverley Street in Palo Alto. The photograph has a special story behind it.

"In the spring of 1994, I was a single mom, and I had decided I wanted to get married, but I didn't have older people in my life. I wanted to witness what older people look like when they're in love, because I wanted to see what I would look like in the future," Fenwick explained.

As part of this quest, she asked June and Eddie Ziff, the parents of her closest friend, whether they would pose for pictures. Eddie Ziff is a pillar of the Palo Alto Farmer's Market and is, according to Fenwick, "famous for flirting and wearing dill behind his ears."

The Ziffs also fit the bill because of their long and affectionate relationship. Fenwick said the Ziffs have been married more than 55 years and are "still very much in love. Eddie is the only man that June has ever known; they met when she was just 14. For their 50th anniversary, she tattooed his name on her ankle."

For the photo shoot, Fenwick asked the Ziffs to spend a day kissing in public places all over Palo Alto. Around noon, the photo shoot wended its way to Gamble Gardens. "We went by the bench, and I told them to take a break. They sat down right next to each other. I saw the roses, and the image was just what I was looking for. I told Eddie to act like June was his girlfriend, and they kissed."

Fenwick, 47, got her start in photography in the early 1970s, when she was a stay-at-home mom in Los Angeles. "As a kid, I was scared of cameras. But in L.A., I thought I would die if I didn't take photographs. I have always been an artist; watercolors are my passion. But when I can't paint what I see, I can get it on film," she said. Without formal training, she began a series of apprenticeships to photographers. Fenwick chose her first "real" camera, a Canon EF, because it bore her initials, and her photography career was launched.

Fenwick was been in the Bay Area since 1983 and runs a studio, Elizabeth Fenwick Camera Portraits, on Palmer Lane in Menlo Park. In addition to portraits, she does commercial work and catalogs. She describes herself as "mostly a children's photographer .<\p>.<\p>. Eighty percent of my clients are under 6."

In her personal work, she particularly enjoys printing photographs in a style from the 1940s, creating soft and romantic images. Her work was recently displayed at the Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park.

--Ingrida Berzins