By Brian Park
When Irvine resident and professional photographer Marlan Globerson lost her brand new digital camera back in May, the loss couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Over the course of 25 years, Globerson had carved out a successful career for herself as a fine-art photographer, specializing in black-and-white portraits on silver print—a special type of photographic printing.
But with the advance of digital photography and editing software, Globerson said she found herself in a “career crisis,” unsure if she would take the next step into the digital realm.
“I felt like my world was falling apart,” Globerson said. “Computers have changed the way we work. My computer was always in my head and now it’s in the camera.”
To compound matters, Globerson was in the midst of helping her ill mother relocate from a senior community in Arizona to one closer in Orange County.
It’s during this transition that Globerson decided to give digital photography a shot. She bought a Canon G9 camera and began documenting her life, from a going-away party for her mother in Arizona to outdoor excursions.
On one such occasion, Globerson and her family visited San Juan Capistrano. She and her daughter hiked a trail along Ortega Highway, met her mother for lunch in downtown and altogether, they walked down the Los Rios Historic District.
“I fell in love with it. I’d been maybe once but not in a very long time,” Globerson said.
The family ended their day at the O’Neill Museum, home of the Historical Society. There, Globerson was fascinated by the archival photos of San Juan Capistrano.
But when the family returned home, Globerson realized she had lost her camera—somewhere in San Juan Capistrano.
“I reported it to the police. I called every boutique, the restaurant and even the candy store on Ortega,” Globerson said. “I grieved for a few weeks for the loss of the camera but mostly for the loss of all those images.”
Unbeknownst to Globerson, her camera lay in the O’Neill Museum and would stay there for several months until Don Tryon, Historical Society board member and archivist, discovered it.
“I saw the camera for the longest time and the secretary said someone left it ages ago,” Tryon said. “I took it apart and there were a heck of a lot of pictures in there. Having taken so many vacation pictures myself, I felt sorry for whoever it was.”
Tryon took the camera and memory card to San Juan Photo & Digital to see if they could somehow identify the owner of the camera. Manager Cheryl Wayland scanned through several hundred photos and found a lead: familiar photos of the Arizona landscape and pictures from Globerson’s mother’s going-away party.
“I recognized these photos were from Arizona, and then I found a photo of two men with nametags,” Wayland said. “I found the name of the facility so I Googled it and I recognized the interior shots were the same as what they had on their website.”
Tryon then took the copies of the photos and contacted the senior community in Arizona, Heritage Palmeras. From there, the staff identified Globerson’s mother and in November, they contacted Globerson.
“I got this call asking if I lost a camera in San Juan Capistrano. She said, ‘someone named Don Tryon called and asked me to call you because they think it’s your camera.’”
After connecting over the phone, Globerson met Tryon and Wayland to retrieve her camera and thank the two.
“These are people who were doing this on their own. I’m still blown away,” Globerson said.
Globerson said getting her camera back has also inspired her to continue her career, digital cameras included. “All the signs are here and I can move on now.”
When asked how she came to share her story with The Dispatch, Globerson said she after searching for local newspapers on the Internet, she found an advertisement for The Dispatch’s annual “Best of” campaign.
“I wanted to acknowledge these people,” Globerson said. “I’ve found the ‘Best of San Juan,’ and well, it’s Don and Cheryl.”