Saratoga Gala Photographer Blinded by White People
By Scott Salad
Published August 21st, 2016
SARATOGA SPRINGS —Due to what doctors are referring to as “an extreme case of prolonged exposure to really white people,” a popular Spa City shutterbug has been told he may never see again.
Forty seven-year-old Jay Labrum — owner of Labrum's Photography on Broadway — has shot so many Caucasians over his 25-year career as Saratoga's go-to summer gala and charity ball photographer that his central detail vision has become damaged beyond repair.
“What Mr. Labrum has done to his retinas filming rich white folk strutting like peacocks each summer in Saratoga is not unlike the prolonged UV exposure one would get from looking directly into the sun for an extended period of time,” said Dr. Reginald Blad, an associate professor at Menands City County College of Optometry.
Blad likened Labrum’s case to a girl in England who stared at a solar eclipse for a full hour while high on amphetamines.
“There is considerable damage to his macula, which is the small substructure of the retina responsible for central vision. In layman’s terms: the black dots people see after a photo flash that normally go away after a few seconds are now permanent.”
Since 1991, Labrum has photographed nearly all of Saratoga's showy socials, including: The Health, History & Horses Charity Gala; The Summer Benefit Auction; The Whitney Gala; The Travers Wine Tasting; The Polo By Twilight Benefit; SPAC's Ballet Gala; the Sizzling Hot Pink Saratoga Hat Luncheon, and, of course, Saratoga Bridges' annual White Party —where the attire is “White Cocktail” and the co-chairs arrive by helicopter.
“I think that's the event that really did my vision in,” Labrum told The Smudge. “There were so many white people and they were all wearing white clothing. And watching them dance, man, I could literally feel the blisters forming on my cornea.”
A benefit for Labrum will be held at the Saratoga Polo Grounds on Thursday, August 25. The event will feature both silent and live auctions, and a cigar roller and bourbon lounge.
In “light” of Labrum's condition, however, attendees are encouraged to wear UV-rated eye protection engineered to block the 1,400 nanometres of near-infrared radiation which NASA scientists believe is generated when approximately 600 white people gather in a field to flaunt their wealth and social status in the name of a good cause.