Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Cork Sorter

The house, which doubled as a gallery, was well worn. Canvas's and bottles filled the large window
overlooking Main street on the east end of town. The art work had an old school Provincetown feeling and when I walked through the front door I felt like I was traveling through time. The hall lead into a living room filled with canvas's of all sizes. The house was dark and musty in an oddly inviting way and I heard my husband say " Do you think they are open? " A woman's voice responded "We're a little dusty, if you don't mind dust, we're open."

Settled comfortably at an oversized roll top desk behind the front door sat a small, round woman with twinkly eyes and gray hair. She had a box of corks in her lap from all the local restaurants. On the floor,
up against the wall and under the window were hundreds of corks in boxes of all sizes. Next to her tattered old swivel chair sat a tiny wooden table with a large zip lock bag of more corks. She explained the why of all the corks. "I am the sorter of the corks." she said contentedly. "I go through all these corks, separate the good ones and we sell them to buy trees. When you go to the library you will see three new trees, they are cork trees!"

This happy little woman had me at "corks."The more I talked to her the more enchanted I became. Her husband, who sat snoozing in the back room, was the painter. In the kitchen a big tropical bird sat on a perch in it's cage. She told me it was her "best friend." Seventeen years ago they agreed to take care of it for three weeks. The owner never returned. The bird is a great talker and confidante.

She invited us to wander through the house. Alongside her husband sat two dogs and three cats. On the kitchen table there was marmalade, jam, toast and an ancient teapot. She told us they had moved to Provincetown 50 years ago. "A lot has changed since then. There were two teachers and two nurses."
I assumed she meant the other women she was friends with. She held up the baggie of corks and said "These are the corks I cannot part with, some are very rare, some are just too beautiful to part with and some have phone numbers on them to call. Of course I have to call them" she said with an enchanting twinkle in her eye.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Obsession, isn't that what life is? Obsession with love, children, art, writing, teaching, photography and now puppies. Obsession with anything that stirs the soul to it's depths. It could be chasing light, walking the beach, mixing colors, writing, gardening; these are the personal obsessions at the top of my list. Now I am relishing in the first week of " Rosie " our new addition. 10 weeks old and a bundle of love;  full of confidence and happiness. She is trying to fit into the very established pack. 14 year old matriarch, Jamie and 2 year old, Charlie. It's a tough nut to crack with Charlie, whose nose is a bit out of joint but she's doing it. We keep telling Charlie, " She'll be your pal and then he will be obsessed with her.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Old School part 2

It was easier then and harder.
You made a choice to be a photographer; you made a
commitment to it. Cameras, lenses, filters, film; lots of
choices. Physical and financial choices and time spent learning
how to put all of that together; creating a product, usually a black
and white photograph that you spent hours in a darkroom printing
and later more time spotting, dry mounting and framing.

My greatest teacher is now in her late eighties; her name is Olive Pierce.
Olive published two photo books and showed her work in highly
regarded galleries and museums. She was my teacher at New England
School of Photography in Boston and later when I decided to pursue
and Art Education degree at Tufts she became my mentor teacher
at Cambridge Rindge & Latin H.S.

I am 61 years young and still love photography in all it's forms. Where I
once resisted digital I now embrace it. I love to see people taking pictures
with their phones and I love to use my phone to take pictures. I still shoot
primarily with cameras, a small point and shoot, a mid sized Canon G-10
and a Nikon D80 35mm digital with a sweet 18-200mm lens. I don't
alter my photos in Photoshop so what you see is what I saw. Maybe that's
the old school in me and I'm ok with that.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

" Old School " girl part 1

I am looking at a book of iphoneography; photos taken on an iphone.
They are seductive. They are new and yet old. I have been around long
enough to recognize the trademarks and origins from whence they came;
TriX film, polaroid film, Holga camera, 2 1/4 format and shaved out negative

I am a purist from the generation that tried to understand the zone system by Ansel
Adams. Years of my savings were spent to buy a 4 by 5 Arca Swiss view camera. I hand
developed sheet film under a special safe light ( I think it was green ) The
darkroom was a zen zone; Portriga Rapid paper with all it's silvery brown tones.
The darkroom had an alchemy of it's own. The glow of the orange safelight, sepia
toner in brown bottles and chemicals that years later I grappled with how to responsibly
dispose of.

Now with the advent of digital, iphones and smart phones everyone is taking pictures.
There is photoshop and multiple ways to manipulate photographs. I love to throw a few
filters on Instagram but basically I like to stay closer to what I see and experience. I am
and probably always will be a " straight photographer "; no photoshop, no crazy filters.
Maybe it's too many choices or maybe the way I see life through my lens works for me.