Step back in time

WARREN – For the past several years, former Time and Life magazines photographer Shelly Katz has been restoring and printing photographs from 1860 to 1915 found in the U.S. Library of Congress.

Katz, an award-winning photographer from Dallas, was the guest speaker Wednesday at the Warren Rotary club meeting at Enzo’s Restaurant, where he shared what he has been doing since his retirement. He brought with him 75 of the more than 300 Civil War-era photos he has restored.

The collection known as ”A Step Back in Time” includes items in an exhibit traveling to museums and galleries throughout the United States.

Katz joked about leaving 74 degree-weather on Tuesday to arrive in time for single-digit temperatures in Warren.

Katz, who has taken photos of such celebrities as Ross Perot, Paul McCartney, Dean Martin, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra and Morgan Fairchild, is now restoring the photos in the Library of Congress, many from the Civil War time and Western frontier settlement.

”After 35 years with Time, Life and all the other magazines traveling around the world, I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people. I said enough was enough and I retired. Six months later, I was bored to death,” Katz said.

He said he became interested in researching the original photojournalists that no one hears much about, so he contacted the Library of Congress.

”I was very fortunate to see and work with the original negatives and files from the period of 1860 to 1915. This covered the Civil War and the settling of the Western frontier,” Katz said.

He brought 75 photos he restored from that period to show the different photography styles .

Many of the Rotary members remarked on how clear the 1800s photos are.

”The beauty of these photos are they are from those original negatives,” Katz said. Katz said what he is most impressed with is the clarity and detail the photographers then took. ”You don’t see these kinds of photos in books.”

Rotary President-Elect Rob Berk said he met Katz at a gun show in Dallas a year ago.

”He had stuff that you don’t hear about everyday,” Berk said.

Berk credits Katz for making such a long journey for a 20-minute presentation.

Katz has spent half a century working in the world of editorial photography for various publications and commercial accounts. He has photographed every major U.S. presidential candidates since 1959, presidential inaugurations, Super Bowls, wars, riots, and weather disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Additionally, Katz has served as a special adviser on photography to the U.S. astronauts at the request of NASA.

Katz has also been part of the digital revolution since the 1980s having worked with major networks photographing and coordinating electronic transmissions of such major new stories as presidential debates, NASCAR races, and the Branch Davidian compound siege in Waco, Texas, from which he took the Time magazine cover photo of the explosion.