Incidents of Travel

May 5th, 2011

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My friend Paul asked me to go shooting with him. He had good intentions. As a true friend he wanted to see what kind of new thinking the unexpected incident might inspire in me.  Our lark never happened. Burdened with a winter of over 60” of snow and ice, we both spent much of our free time shoveling.  When not shoveling, I was in deep hibernation.

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Paul’s suggestion opened a train of thought.  I have a few bodies of work, never exhibited, that were the unanticipated results of travel. Some revolve around family, images that began as a simple documentation of vacations together. I wanted younger generations to be able to match a photograph to the stories that will surely be told, as stories were told to me. I never thought of this as ‘art’, but maybe it is.

I spent some time in Warsaw, once pre-EU, once post. Both times I rented a room in what was called a Communist-style building. Built in the 1970’s under that rule,many of these complexes make the International Style seem gaudy.  Now privately owned, the interiors of my building were often quite stylishly updated, but the exterior remained grim. The apartment that I was in retained it’s original aesthetic, which include three impressive locks. I spent a good deal of time waiting. I would hear comings and goings. Feeling the oppression of the locks, I would imagine a repressive state. I stared out of the peephole and then began photographing from it, waiting for something to happen.  My ultimate goal became to capture an image of the little dogs.

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I had a great time in Austin, TX. My husband and I were lost and hungry and wanted to hear some music. Purely by accident, we happened upon a local spot called Don’s Depot. I have a fondness for bars, having been a cocktail waitress and bartender, on and off, for about 20 years. Don’s Depot was very much a local spot. I’m not a documentary photographer, but I got caught up in the narrative of love, longing, friendship and the warmth of a place that seemed very specific to Texas.

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There was no forethought. These works were an unexpected response to place. They remind me of the need to refresh and I appreciate the generosity of the gesture of my friend.

Newness

August 17th, 2010

I am new to the idea of a blog. Being, by nature, a quiet, private person, it is taking some time to get my head around it. A blog feels like a diary and I do not have a favorable history with diaries.  My most outstanding memory of diary-keeping is that of encountering, at about age 11-12, my brothers reading my secret fantasies out loud to the entire neighborhood. I threw the diary away, and have not kept one since. I rarely even write in a journal; only when traveling.

So this is a time of newness. I am entering a new decade. I am organizing a new studio and I am attempting a new chapter in my photo series, Plant Life. Plant Life is one of many ongoing bodies of work. I tend to work on several projects at once.

With Plant Life, I have been exploring my relationship to nature by documenting my ongoing attempt to grow things. Having no horticultural ability at all, so far, I have primarily recorded my failures, although last summer, with much help from my husband, I grew radishes. He would water them when I forgot. I’m not sure if that counts.

I now have a few seeds for an Elm tree. I received them at an exhibition at Artspace, New Haven. I meant to plant them this past spring, but I was busy. I’ve now begun to photograph them