When reading through various oral histories from the Eames Office at 901 Washington Blvd., an anecdote from Tina Beebe (an Office staff member from 1977-1980) about Ray’s driving style caught my attention as being especially charming. Many of us idolize the Eameses, but behind their worshipped design-centric identities existed two very human people.
Tina recalled, “[Ray] was looking at everything. She was looking at what was blooming, she was looking at the shadows on a certain wall, she was looking at the color shirt that this little girl had on next to her mother. She was looking at everything except the traffic!” Close friends and staff members have mentioned her tendency to veer into the lanes of opposing traffic while lost in conversation.
Hearing about how terrifying Ray was to drive with makes her feel accessible and relatable. It also gives incredible insight into what Ray thought was visually important and how she innately responded to her external environment.
Read the introduction to the Eames Archives: An Image as an Idea series here and stay tuned for monthly installments.