About Where I Live:
Block Island is a little island, 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. It takes an hour by ferry to get here, and it's out in open ocean. Our exposed position means a lot of things. Ferries sometimes don't run, frozen food is expensive, and in winter, the gas station closes at 2 o'clock. But we have the most amazing quiet and the air smells like beach roses and the ocean. And there is so much clean, natural beauty everywhere I look. The light changes every day and so does the water. So that's perfect for me and for the work I do.
About this Site:
I decided to call this site "A Photographer's Day", because photography, for me, is about a way of living. It's about what I do in the natural course of a day. There are things to learn and equipment lug around and keep from falling into the ocean.
But more than that, there is a basic approach, a way to be in the world. And equipment notwithstanding, it is very, very old. It is both active and passive. I can go out to hunt, as people have done, as all creatures have done, for thousands or millions of years. In fact, the language we use in photography reflects that - we take or capture or shoot a picture. But I can also go out to gather, to receive what nature has given. And I've found that nature is varied, generous, glorious and endless in all that she bestows.
For me, it's about being out there in it - the happiness of that, the hot and cold and driving sand and wet of that, the early morning of that, the sound and smell of that, the wind on my face of that. If that is my focus, then I've had a good day, no matter what comes out of it. But I do get some wonderful pictures, and some are planned and some are a pure discovery. In any case, I consider each photograph to be an artifact of the most important thing - the fact that I was able to be there in nature, letting it affect me, being with it, taking it in.
About My Life:
I am blessed with my husband Bill and two excellent step-children and their excellent families, which now include two little boys, and I also have five brothers and sisters and their families and my Mom. My Dad passed away nine years ago, at 91. I'm 61 years old, and that's a good age, because I'm old enough to know that life is long and short at the same time. It's long enough that I've been amazed to see how things work out and short enough to know that if something matters, it's good to get on it right away.
I started my life in Colchester, Connecticut where we all lived together on my Grandmother's farm. We moved to a small town named Moosup, Connecticut when I was going into the 3rd grade. We traveled around in a Volkswagen bus. We went to Nova Scotia and up near Hudson Bay, camping and fishing and taking photographs. Dad had a 16 foot Boston Whaler, and we went to Block Island, fishing and clamming and eating the donuts at Payne's Dock. We used to look up at the houses. We'd always say, "Who needs to live in those big houses? We have everything we need right here."
Which was true. I remember early mornings with my Dad's hot coffee steaming in a mason jar, sunsets on smooth water, racing back to the mainland ahead of the coming darkness, jumping in the water to pull the boat onto the trailer. Spray came over the bow with every wave. My dad would open his mouth to taste it. He would say, "Gracie, this is my church."
My Mom went back to work and I became the family shopper and the cook. We needed a lot of food for eight people and I was quite the little planner and quite the hunter-gatherer. My Mom would drop me off with a hundred dollars and I would push one cart and pull another... I was just a little taller than the cart at first, but I moved through that grocery store like Sherman through Georgia....four gallons of milk, two dozen apples, two dozen oranges, entire salamis...many cans of mackerel because they were twelve cans for a dollar. (I'm sorry about that, family. Mackerel loaf and mackerel patties and mackerel balls....)
When I grew up, I went to Hartford, where I worked in the insurance and financial services industry. One company was my working home for 21 years. I was in Human Resources and then in the International Department. I was able to work in Oman, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. I loved working overseas, and learning all the ways of seeing and working and being in the world. I loved what I learned in all the years in my company and I worked with wonderful people. I had a lot of responsibility. It was partly what I had to do and partly the way I took it on but I was tired almost all the time. Well, not almost all the time...all the time. If I tried to imagine what else I could do in my life, the only thing that came to mind was I that wanted to lie down. It was hard to imagine how to parlay that desire into a new career. I did however, have a hint of the life that would come in time... I used to write recommendations to the Board of Directors and it was always quite a fire drill. I used to drive my boss crazy because the night before everything was due to go out, when everything was over the top with the stress I would say, "Do you think the headings on that recommendation should perhaps be a little more blue?"
When I left the corporate world, I taught international courses in the graduate school of a university in New York and Connecticut, and I loved that very much. I love all the ways of seeing the world. I love to teach. And by then I was already living here on the Island.
I care about people who have to work too hard and about our country in which our Congress is currently suffering from what? a certain lack of perspective. I think we are still incredibly blessed because I can never forget how hard my grandmother worked and why she had to come from Russia to America; and also how hard it was for my father in WW2 and especially in the Korean War; and how hard my mother and father and our whole family have worked all our lives.
I want my life to be an example... to show it is possible to get through all the changes and choose a way of life, to show that there is great abundance and also that there are ways to communicate with images and with beauty. I mean, seeing is agreeing, right? I know this from my siblings because right inside my family there is one representative of almost every opinion on almost everything. It can be pretty scary at our holiday gatherings, but we do agree on what we see. I mean, we love the same beauty. I don't have to tell you that it is very important right now that we turn and look in the same direction and remember what is important and what we have. And I think that beauty can help us do that. And I think we're drawn to beauty because that is what we are.
I want you to know that my days are spent in beauty, that I'm not continually tired, and that this creative thing I thought I was doing for myself is the best thing I have ever done for anyone.