Miramar, a French neoclassical-style mansion on Bellevue Avenue.
Jackie & Caroline arriving in Newport on a windy day.
The Newport Pell Bridge being built. Construction spanned from 1966 to 1969.
The Vanderbilt mansion known as “The Breakers” located on Ochre Point Avenue
Clarendon Court. Built in 1903 by Horace Trumbauer.
An aerial of West Main Road.
Newport’s “The Waves” property.
Richard Nixon on the Cliff Walk
The Clambake Club
Bowen’s Wharf in the ’70s.
I was recently reflecting on summertime in Newport as most would argue that it is supremely perfect. It is a span of time that many would dream of experiencing and how lucky are we as “locals” to savor in all that it delivers – on the water, in the sand and otherwise?! When a recent guest of mine reflected on his first experience in Newport, he remarked how much he admired the understated sense of elegance and tradition. A play land where lush shrubbery and sandy feet are valued more than the type of car you drive, and where the sea is the center of all leisure. Mindful of those attributes that have been lively for decades, I took great pleasure in beginning to follow @marktnewport on Instagram. His account features a collection of vintage photographs taken by his Father, Jerry Taylor. Some images are vast aerials of property now more populated, others candid inside-status snaps of Jackie-O and gilded estates. Some photographs have corresponding dates and captions, others are simply seeking more information from his growing base of engaged followers. Mark’s collection has reaffirmed my sense of wonder and appreciation for where we live, have brought to life again the sense of tradition and celebration deeply rooted in Newport, and a reminder of the integrity tied to our cherished landscape.
I had the opportunity to chat with Mark about his Father’s photographs and the joy they have brought him in recent months. Read the Q&A, below:
Q: Tell us a little bit about your Father, the infamous Jerry Taylor, who was once behind the lens of the photographs you share.
A: My Father had a radio program called the “Newport Radio Express” where he’d get up every morning putting together the radio program. The show ran from the 1940s to early 90s. He’d also photograph many high society parties, America’s Cup events, Jazz Festival and Kennedy Family happenings in Newport – he covered the Kennedy wedding in Newport and even helped Jackie deploy a strategy to distract many of the press at her wedding. His work went to the UPI (United Press International), AP (Associated Press), CBS and other news agencies.
As a family, we had a big discussion of what to do with negatives when Mom moved out of the house – we were going to throw them away, but we ended up keeping them. They are now throughout the house – in the garage, bookshelves… I’m slowly working on putting them into an album.
Q: Do you have a favorite photograph of your Father’s collection?
A: I don’t have a favorite photograph but I find it interesting to see what people respond to. Some of the society stuff – people are glued to those photographs and then I’ll switch to some of the Cup races and it attracts a completely different audience.
Q: Your Father’s collection spans quite a few decades. Do you personally have a favorite decade in Newport especially given that you have a vast visual record?
A: The mid-60s and back are some of my favorite… the architecture really speaks to me. Once the Pell bridge was built, the town really changed. I love looking at some of the old streets – back when Thames Street was pronounced the way they do in London.
Q: What is your perfect Newport day?
A: Second beach was great in the old days before it got too crowded. I love the Bird Sanctuary, walking Cliffwalk…The Black Pearl after a cold storm… some of the Newport classics. I used to paint watercolors and have also liked how we have great access to the sea here in Newport. We really do.
Q: What is your desired outcome for creating your Instagram account and sharing your Father’s collection, if at all?
A: Honestly, I don’t know at this point… the photos are really taken their own life and it’s been fun to see the response they get. I have some regular followers who will often want photographs of their relatives I feature…this really happened organically. I’m exploring the possibility of potentially doing a book, maybe selling some prints… I’m having fun with it.
Be sure to follow @marktnewport on Instagram and may you enjoy the succulent summer that is Newport, Rhode Island.