Topic: Darrow (3 posts)


Thanks to my friend and colleague Andrea Star Greitzer, I have a logo! Never had one of those before. We started with several designs. This was an earlier iteration but I felt the colors were wrong.

There are three things that are primary in my career and Andrea knows them probably better than anyone:

1. I am all photo all the time.

2. My earlier career spanned over 30 years working just in black and white. It wasn't until the early 2000's that I started working in color. 

3. I am a stickler for technical proficiency and high quality in my photography. We felt that it was appropriate to include an aperture, as a universal symbol for a technical characteristic of photography.

Here's the final one:

Why a logo? It helps to establish your "brand" as it identifies what you stand for and speaks to your aesthetic in a symbol. Think about the issue of "identification", trying to state with just one photograph what your work is all about. Impossible, right? But a logo, while seeming to put you in with large companies and corporations, gives a visual clue to what your work is about.

With thanks to Andrea!

BTW: I am sending this blog out today, November 25, 2016 on my 70th birthday. To celebrate this, many close friends and my family met in Orleans on Cape Cod last weekend for a get together and party that started Friday and lasted until Sunday. I thank all for coming and bringing wonderful food and drink. I especially thank Suzanne, longtime friend and former student, for loaning us her wonderful home in Orleans.

Topics: Darrow,Fred Sommer,Harry Callahan

Permalink | Posted November 25, 2016

Canterbury Shaker Village 2011

I am on a mission to bring to the front work I've made over the years that is unseen, unpublished and unshown. The work I did one foggy morning in August 2011 of the Canterbury Shaker Village in Canturbury, NH would need to be included in this group.

I go way back with this small Shaker Village that is a museum. I met the last real surviving Shaker,  Sister Emma, about nine months before she died in the early nineties. Back then I did some pro bono work for the museum, making a poster for them and I donated a portfolio of black and white prints I'd made in the mid-nineties for their collection. The location is about 30 minutes north of Concord and I often stop by if driving past. It is on the top of a hill, surrounded by fields and is simply a wonderful place to be, let alone photograph.

I arrived early one mid-August morning in 2011 with everything wet and the top of the hill enshrouded in fog with the sun working to break through the cover as I continued to photograph.

In Elin Spring's interview of my work a couple of weeks ago she asked why I would rephotograph something (Elin Spring blog). How can you not? Because it is fascinating to see what stays the same and what changes. Because I can go back to a familiar topic and reinvent it or re-realize it. Because, which is the case here, I can shoot it in color versus the black and white pictures I made twenty years ago. All of those and more. 

The pictures embody a now-classic way in which I work: the walk around, begun as a process over thirty years ago. Simple enough: park the car, put a camera with a lens on it in my hand or over my shoulder, walk around taking pictures as I go, looking for the next frame as I make the present one, a picture leading to the next picture in a kind of quiet choreography of movement, looking, thinking, moving in and out, peering around a corner or turning around 180 degrees to see what I've just done from a different angle. I think of this as a meditative experience, relaxed and easy, but very intense as well. A couple of hours can go by in a moment. In this case, the staff can arrive as the museum prepares to open and people come to see the buildings and exhibits. Just as I was finishing. Nice.

At any rate, I will shut up and let you take a look at the pictures:

There's a stillness and quiet to these pictures made before the museum opened that morning that I like. The prints are muted and there are no brilliant highlights as the area was foggy. As I continued to work, the sun was starting to push its way in and provided soft shadows.

There is simply nothing better than rural New England in mid-summer in the early morning as trees are dripping with dew, the air is still and the sun is starting to break the cover apart, promising another hot and indolent day.

The full series is on the site here.

Suffice it to say that my creative sensibilities align with what the Shakers did, how they lived and what they made. I can take it further by saying that Shaker's philosophy and artistry was instrumental in forming my aesthetic as I attended the Darrow School in New Lebanon, NY for my four high school years. Darrow is situated at the first Shaker Village in the United States formed by sister Ann Lee.

Topics: Darrow,Shaker

Permalink | Posted July 3, 2013

Darrow School

This past week I was back at my high school in the Berkshire Mountains, meeting with students, showing them my work and talking with seniors about applying to colleges to major in photography. I looked at portfolios and critiqued printing as well. Darrow is  a small preparatory school located where the first Shaker Village was built on the side of a mountain in New Lebanon, NY. This is a picture I took the first morning from the same spot where I stood  47 years ago in June of 1965, with my sister and parents, proudly holding my diploma for all to see.

I am sure many of you have had this same sensation, that to be back in a place where you lived and studied and played so long ago is very strange. To the left of this frame is the football field where I dislocated my shoulder in my sophomore year. I can still feel the bump. 

I stole away for an hour or so the first morning and made these pictures in Great Barrington, about 30 minutes away:

The last morning I was there I drove over the mountain and headed towards Pittsfield, MA. These were made at the Hancock Shaker Village. This is the village with the famous stone barn. I believe that living for four years in a Shaker building and going to school on the  grounds of what had been a Shaker community influenced me and my aesthetic greatly. 

I really enjoyed working with the kids at the school. They were bright, motivated and curious about what I do and what I have done during my career. I stayed with Nancy Wolf, who is the long-term head of the school and is retiring after 11 or so very good years. She has done a wonderful job. The school is now a first rate school.

Topics: Darrow,Shaker

Permalink | Posted November 9, 2012