Mackenzee Crosby invited me to have lunch with her at The Red Cup, a vegan coffee house and restaurant in Oklahoma City. She is hoping to move to New York soon, and despite her repeated invitations, I’d never managed to make it up there, so this was her last chance to share the experience with me.
Mackenzee and I have been friends since for more than a decade, since she was in junior high. She took my class in 2014. Right before the pandemic in 2020, she photographed Abby and me at home for a college project. In 2021, she spent her newspaper internship at my newspaper (you can read more about her internship here [link], and here [link]). During her internship, I wanted her to write a column. My column is called Picture This, so I wanted hers to have an appealing name. After bantering twenty or so names, she loved the sound of Ellen in Grey. Her middle name is Ellen.
One running photographic laugh between us is that she is very nearsighted, and as I get older, I need readers to see up close. As a result, when she puts my camera to her eye, everything is blurry, and when I put her camera to my eye, everything is blurry.
Mackenzee is also an aspiring poet and author, and I’m always glad when I get to read something of hers. She and I were part of the open mic scene in Ada, and during the pandemic, we both took part in an amazing one-night reading called Esoteric Verse (here, link.)
After lunch, we walked east toward a cathedral she admires, then over to a spot on Western with a couple of graphic features she knew would make pictures.
Early on her internship, Mackenzee invested in a Fujifilm X100V with its fixed 23mm f/2, a camera that has gotten rare and coveted since being introduced. I have a Fuji X-T10, which I brought with my 18mm f/2 attached, so we were both shooting in a similar set.
I am excited for her that she’s moving to New York, but I also know I’ll miss her being close by.