Sunday, April 28, 2013

Philosophical Me (in the garden)

I am enjoying all the new developments in the garden. Things that I have yet to see bloom- either recently planted (like the bulb border below that we planted last fall) or else deciding finally to burst forth with some kind of display (like the three year old barrenwort plant above). While the world can be a vexing place where some things gel and others fail to launch, I am often comforted by the things that happen in the garden, just because they want to, or they can, or they are suppose to. Just like real life.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The garden club goes to Wave Hill

Where we live, our neighborhood has a garden club as well as an association for its residents ( which date back to the 1930's). While we club members no longer wear white gloves as we sip tea, we do try to go once a year as a group on a field trip to visit a beautiful spot that features special horticulture. 

This year Wave Hill was our destination and we had a perfect day to head south to the Bronx. By late morning, when we arrived, it was in the 60's, sunny and glorious. The place itself has many amazing attributes including vistas overlooking the Hudson River, century old specimen trees and imaginative plantings in both sun and shade as well as a renowned collection of alpine plants.

We happily roamed this bucolic setting while listening to our informative guides. It is a very special garden to explore and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Me and Everyone Else

A couple selections of city moments that are photographed by almost every tourist and passerby when circumstances permit.  Must be a tribal thing.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Contemplating process (re: nail polish)

Turns out, there are a lot of ways to think about nail polish. Pouring drops on to a palette willy nilly and watching the empty space slowly begin to fill. Examining all the colors and what to use next. Where exactly to place the next dot. Well, the possibilities race through my mind. Or not. (Don't even choose. Wear a blindfold. Pre-visualize. Contemplate chance. All the many ideologies to consider.)
And when is something finished? When it feels done? When a deadline looms? When you run out of materials? Or desire?
So many questions on such a beautiful day. Makes a girl's head spin for sure.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Back at the Beach(club)

It was sufficiently sunny and balmy today that the great minds amongst us (our pal David and my husband James) concocted a plan to gather at our local beach club and make a bonfire. The local brilliant thinkers were not confined to these two- others gathered there and an actual social gathering blossemed along the Hudson. At some point I felt the need to bail- it became very windy and cold and hearth and home beckoned.
Still, in a familiar spot with a favorite vista, my heart was warmed with the prospect of all the lovely evenings to come.

Friday, April 19, 2013


I tool a portrait mid-week of Cal who came by for a quick sitting. He recently acquired his real estate license and has started working as a salesman for Hudson Homes. Originally from Ireland he came here in his late teens and lives in nearby Tarrytown It's always fascinating to learn about my subjects as I am crafting a portrait I hope they will like. Somehow the banter helps.

Utter Dismay

"We have, as one colleague put it to me, replaced our pre-9/11 naïveté with post-9/11 sobriety."  from the New Yorker essay by Atul Gwande

I am deeply agitated over events in Boston. I just heard an interview with the classmate of the younger brother who said how likable he was in high school.  How does a kid who seemed to have found a way in America after coming from the other side of the globe decide to execute such terrible mayhem with his older sibling? I really don't know how to express my anger and sadness. Now Boston is in the grip of a manhunt- buses and trains not running and residents are staying home behind locked doors. It boggles the mind the terror a few individuals can inflict on innocent civilians. What kind of world are we living in?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Seen and noted (from a while back)

I grew up with brothers fascinated by cars and my husband has a similar preoccupation. Let's just say that Car and Driver is one of his favorite reads. And for myself, the specter of an old fashioned deco inspired dealership, lit up at night like a jewel box featuring shining new vehicles, drew me and my panoramic camera like a moth to a flame.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Visit to The Muse

The other day I made the trek to Williamsburg in Brooklyn to photograph Mandy Hackman at a studio called The Muse. Given that anything lately worth doing seems to originate from Brooklyn, it made sense that I found myself there. I had connected with Mandy on a website called OurGoods where people barter their talents to support each other's pursuits. Mandy wrote that she was an aerialist who needed photographs and I was intrigued. Years of photographing performers left me with a love of individuals who craft their bodies to the point of physical perfection. It proved to be a fascinating way to spend an afternoon. (in the partnered photos Mandy is seen with her fellow performer and collaborator, Madeline Houk)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Out of a Dream

That's how talented I am with a camera in my my hands. For better or for worse- that is the way it is. I have an affinity for all matter and shapes of recording devices on a still piece of matter. I don't know how else to put it. Or, as others have said, "Your work is like seeing something out of a dream".  For what it's worth. Hope you enjoy. Feel free to let me know what you think. I would really appreciate it!

(p.s. I would love to direct on film. Don't get me wrong. The right opportunity has yet to present itself. But I am very open. Totally.)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Jackson Pollack and Me

I have always been in awe of the ferocity and passion in the work of Jackson Pollack. I imagine him in his studio throwing paint on his unstretched canvas on the floor and tilting the art world as he tilted his buckets of paint. As a kid, when I first encountered his paintings in the Cleveland Museum of Art, I really didn't know what to think.
I just knew it was different.
When I began to make art in college, I couldn't go near a paintbrush. I couldn't squeeze a tube of paint onto a palette and a blank space terrified me. What to put there? But bottles of nail polish transfixed me. I understood the intended purpose was to decorate my fingers and my toes, but painting with it intrigued me and for years I contented myself with using the brush in the bottle as my means of application.
Recently, I dispensed with the brush and felt the urge to pour straight from the bottle. (If only nail polish came in quart sized cans. Imagine the cost.)

Now that we are experiencing some better weather (warmer temperatures and sunshine no less) I found myself en pleir air, making a new painting on glass. I still have no idea what this fascination of mine is about- but I'm hoping that's a good thing.

The above photograph of Pollack is by the amazing photographer Hans Namuth.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Memory

Sometimes, when I wake up from a deep sleep, I feel lost in a fog of time and place. My childhood home floats up and interrupts the here and now. A kind of shiver passes through me when these two worlds collide- akin to the understanding gained when you are little that nothing lasts forever.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A return to the square

During my years in NYC as a studio photographer  I typically used a Hasselblad camera for work.
With the advent of digital (which eliminated stocking film, along with the many runs to drop off and pick up at the lab) I transitioned to working with digital cameras. After countless rolls of film left me with a wide carbon footprint, I was relieved to no longer be polluting the globe with all the toxic chemicals required to process film.

A while back a talented friend had a hankering to try this larger format and so she made excellent use of one of my cameras. When she returned it  she also gave me a pack of polaroid film. This film, designed to fit a camera back meant you could examine your image on this "instant" medium before you committed your images to film. The polaroid box floated around my office until yesterday when I broke out the camera, put it on a tripod, used a light meter and made a photograph of the most prosaic image I could muster. Brought back a flood of happy memories- the snap as you pull the film through its rollers, the 90 second interval while your image processes, and the magic of the final peel when you got to see your results. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Enough to last a lifetime

While grocery shopping the other day with my son he added this rather large box of Nesquix to the cart.
I asked him if it wasn't a little big to which he replied, "It's enough to last a lifetime."

We'll see about that.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The only crocus (small news)

One autumn years back I planted a bag of crocus bulbs in a variety I loved. Come spring, not a single one came up. Then one day, walking on the path to our door I noticed a glimpse of color in a very unexpected place. Tucked behind the forsythia hedge, among the ivy and dead leaves were my crocus bulbs. A squirrel had dug them all up and moved them. Over the years they have appeared in fits and starts and this year only a single flower poked through. I was happy to find it and touched by its solitary gleam of spring.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The hellebore unfurls

At certain times of the year, the garden is a constant distraction. I feel an urgency to go outside with camera in hand and kneel in the dirt as I get lost in the contemplation of the shapes, colors and compositions contained in our flower beds. (especially the first blooms of the spring.)
I'm not sure if photography is my passion, my obsession or both.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Junior Dinner 2013

My daughter Sarah is a junior at our local high school. In early spring, a junior dinner is held (I wrote about her sister Nora's here)- their version of a junior prom. Sarah's date was Nick, a great guy she has known since grade school. As is keeping with my independently inclined offspring, Sarah and Nick devised their own itinerary and had dinner in Irvington at the Red Hat instead. They rode the train back, did a little socializing in town, then changed in to warmer clothes before getting on the chartered bus (post junior dinner) to the city for extended festivities. It turned out to be a gorgeous day and they were happy to pose before heading out. They let me take quite a few images in their dressed-up selves. A fun time was had by all (and Sarah was home and in bed by four a.m).

Friday, April 5, 2013


It was my husband's birthday yesterday and as he's a low key kind of guy, he's not big on events that draw attention to himself- less is more where he is concerned.  Our neighbors recently returned from a trip abroad and brought back an unexpected treat, so in lieu of a birthday cake we had a feast of macarons from the famous French maker, Ladurée. They were a divine way to wrap a special meal. A special thank you to Kaia for the lovely addition to our festivities!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Springtime in New York

New York City in the spring abounds with sun-filled displays in its many parks and gardens. The daffodil display at the New York Botanical Garden combined with the flowering trees is a spectacle not to be missed if you can find you way there. Highly recommend.

City Hall Park features some a row of cherry tress whose pink blboseems brighten the pathway as you stroll through and brighten the immediate lanscape in their pink whirls of color.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


It's my father's birthday today so my mind wanders to him. He lived to be almost 97 so we were fortunate to have him around for as long as we did. He was a man who never wished another soul or creature harm and committed his life to helping as many people as he could while trying to make the world a better place. A devoted husband and father, he was a truly unique individual.

Happy Birthday Dad, where ever you are. I miss you.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Princess and the Pillowcase

I fell off the frugal wagon recently and attended a sale at the Ann Gish store in Chelsea. With our usual long list of financial obligations- I'm sort of astounded that I did. I bought an assortment of very beautiful furnishings for the bed, highly discounted but still a small fortune in our current economy. My  extravagances included a pair of silk pillowcases ($90.00) and a silk flat sheet ($60.00). I have been in love with her silk pillowcases since I found them years back and discovered that resting my face on a silk pillowcase at night made falling asleep much easier- in contrast using a rough pillowcase made falling asleep a struggle.  Call it the "princess and the pea syndrome". Call it what ever you like. Ultimately as an investment in my sanity, it's priceless.