Kim Bauldree and Gene Page were brought together by photography when they met at the University of Florida in the late 1980s. She earned a bachelor’s in fine arts in photography and he graduated with a bachelor’s of science in journalism.
Making photographs served as a common bond for the couple, but as technology and their lives progressed, each explored creativity in different ways.
In the late 1980s, Gene’s career began as a newspaper photographer like his father. Kim also worked in print journalism photography.
“For a time in Syracuse, New York, we worked at competing newspapers,” says Kim, who eventually left her job at the Cortland Standard to freelance at the Syracuse Newspapers, where Gene worked full time. “I was pregnant with our first child—Gene V—and the schedule as a freelancer gave me more flexibility.”
A 1994 move to West Village in Manhattan positioned Gene for a career in film and production photography.
“We were living in a fourth-floor walk-up with a brand-new baby, an 85-pound Labrador retriever and one car,” Kim says. “We adapted, but when we were in a serious car accident and I broke three vertebrae—with no family nearby to support us—we moved back to Florida in 1995.”
The Gainesville native was home, now with their second child, daughter Carter.
Kim was an adjunct professor at the University of Florida and worked with the Gainesville Sun for several years. As the kids got older, she was searching for another way to express her creativity.
“I really wanted to do something different, to add other components to my photography, so it made sense to shift to film production,” she says. “Documentaries gave me a chance to be even more creative, to add motion and sound to the production mix, and to tell stories that were meaningful on a bigger scale.”
While Gene traveled to movie and television show production sets across North America—returning home for weekly and sometimes months-long family time—Kim connected with the University of Florida Documentary Institute, earned her master’s degree and opened a studio in 2003.
She shot and edited short projects for clients, assisted other videographers and producers, and created a behind-the-scenes documentary for the feature film, “Things That Hang From Trees.”
Along the way, Kim directed and co-produced a 14-minute music video for the live version of Tom Petty’s “Crystal River.” She combined rare footage from Petty’s 2008 performance at the Troubadour in Hollywood with a montage of Florida’s Ichetucknee and Crystal rivers, manatees and scenes from nature. It premiered at Petty’s birthday bash in 2018—the year after he died.
“It took two years to do the project—from 2016 to 2018—and really appealed to me from the start because of its message about the springs, water and nature,” Kim says. “It became a turning point for me creatively because water has always been important in my life. Now I had a way to make a statement.”
As her children entered high school, then college, Kim says she was at a crossroads.
“I wasn’t really shooting anymore,” she says. “My equipment needed upgrading, and I wanted to do something that was really and truly satisfying.”
In 2019, Kim decided to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics at the University of Miami. When the pandemic hit, everything was put on hold.But she returned to Miami to start the 2021 school year. She has an apartment and studio space on campus, where she is a teaching assistant. She expects to graduate in May 2022.
“Gene was traveling so much, and the kids are on their own, so this was the perfect time,” Kim says of her decision to pursue her MFA. “He comes to see me between production shoots, and we get together as much as we can. We talk regularly and sometimes use FaceTime so we can eat dinner together.”
For her thesis project, Kim is building a colored-map representation of a spring using hand-built ceramics in the colors of water and sand, with found objects making impressions in the clay. She includes printmaking in her work, pulling together her love of photography, history and ceramics.
“I’m able to become my best creative self and use my degree as an artist to make art about water,” Kim says. “My art is now about blue spaces—water from lakes and springs to oceans and fountains—and bringing attention to the importance of water in our lives. I’m right where I need to be, and I’m very excited for this next stage of my career.” n
To see the music video, visit tompetty.com and search for “Crystal River.”