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Alumni Photographers Mark 30 Years Taking Fordham Senior Portraits


Remember that big ’80s hair you obsessed over in college? How about that high-top fade? That mullet you thought looked so cool? 

Frank Bailey and Gail Lynch-Bailey, both FCRH ’79, have seen it all. The Fordham Class of 2015 was the 30th senior class the couple has photographed for the senior section of the Rose Hill yearbook, The Maroon.

“It’s like homecoming for us every year,” said Frank, who met his bride-to-be in the yearbook offices. He was editor in chief in 1979, and Gail was executive editor. They married in the University Church in 1981.

The photography business was a lot different in those days.

“Back then, we were photographing seniors on 70-millimeter, long-roll film,” he said. “Retouching was done by hand directly on the negatives. Today, we can get thousands of images on one digital card, and retouching is done on a computer screen.”

Frank estimates that he has taken nearly 30,000 senior portraits of Rose Hill undergraduates in the McGinley Center since 1986.

“It is usually the first time since their high school days that they are having their portrait taken for the yearbook,” he said. “There are some who always dread [it]. Seeing me is like seeing the dentist; every once in a while, you still have to go!”

He and Gail have seen a lot of changes at Rose Hill over the years.

“We’ve watched he campus grow. We’ve seen the different buildings go up.” The student body has also changed since the ’80s, he said, when Fordham had a lot more commuter students. “Now you’re drawing kids from all over the country and the world.”

He recalled the many fads the decades brought to campus. “I remember the biggest Afros on the guys,” he said, “goth girls, long hair on the guys and then short. The hairstyles have come and gone. But the guys always wore a jacket and tie. That has stayed traditional.”

Gail and Frank both joined The Maroon in 1976—she as a writer, he as a photographer covering sports. He also covered graduation day, as he does today, and remembers getting shots of Alan Alda, FCRH ’56, when Alda was commencement speaker in 1978.

After graduating from Fordham, Gail got a job working for a Long Island branch of Delmar, the company that manufactures the student-produced books. And though he’d earned a degree in biology, Frank was busy building a student-portrait photography business when he received a call from the Maroon offices in 1986 asking him to shoot senior portraits.

Today, the couple owns a franchise of Delmar on Long Island.

“It’s still a pleasure to deal with the Maroon editors. We take him them to dinner, we make sure they have enough photo equipment,” he said, adding that the student-editors take on a great deal of responsibility at a young age. “It’s time management, it’s money management. It’s good training.”



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