Plane, 2021, Archival Digital Print
Yesterday morning a single-engine plane flew low back and forth overhead. Its target was the big apple orchard behind my neighbor’s land. Its insect buzz was alarming even though I knew what it was doing. Fruit farmers hire these flyers to spread fertilizer or anti-fungal chemicals, but in the very cold weather they are used to stir up the air and bring down the heated air toward the ground. I was already feeling as if I were channeling the Blitz and tasted the terror of WWII, and the shot I got as it went on a loop over the house confirmed it. The power of images to set a place and a time — even one I never experienced except through media — is real.
Truck and Red Maple, 2021, Archival Digital Print
The moment when conjunctions of two or three forms sit in the space with such precision and rightness, we know that surely the universe seems perfectly planned. This Red Maple had a brother who was closer to the picture plane, but it was taken down in a wind storm several years ago. The stump shows on the right,
Chickens and Geese, Archival Digital Print, 2021
I’m thinking here of those early French photographs I saw at The Met a long time ago. It was the Gilman Paper Photography Collection, a trove of early photographs that changed me. That show altered the course of my thinking about photography and its possibilities.
Siblings, 2020, Archival Digital Print
Siblings [enlarged], 2020, Archival Digital Print
Last night I came back from the studio and as I walked up the back porch steps, I saw something dash away. Shining the flashlight I saw these two kids peering at me from the tree (see the enlargement to see them up in the branches) beside the plant shed. The young siblings are sharing in Nicky’s cat food. More critters for the homestead! I’m thankful for them and those adorable little faces.
The Cheesecake, 2020, Archival Digital Print
Homage to Bonnard’s The Cherry Tart, Virginia is as lured as is Bonnard’s Dachshund.
Face on the Screen, 2020, Archival Digital Print
I was thinking of Bronzino’s portrait of a young man when I took this. It is actually a still from a short video, I had wanted to get my head turning but failed. I like the gaze in all paintings and photographs. I’m always suspicious of people who won’t look you in the eye. It portends trouble. Not mere shyness but something hidden and rarely positive.
Zachariah, 2020, Archival Digital Photo
My proud Pilgrim Gander, Zach, has just fathered a son, Burdock. Pilgrim Geese are doting parents and Zach watches his boy attentively at all times. It is being able to know and observe these beings that balances the horror of the national scene I read about and the ugliness, from the Minnesota murder of a man whose crime was being Black, to the milestone of deaths from Covid-19 that we just passed.
Adolescent Turkeys, 2019, Archival Digital Print
The first whiff of Autumn came last week. Now in spite of the high temperatures and the violent thunderstorms and drenching rains on many nights, the summer’s end nudges at us. Another sign is the young Turkeys who long ago fledged and are now long-necked and adolescent. The flock is big. Here are a few stragglers. Their sibs already crossed the road and were safely hidden in the grasses. These two had attitude and risked the on coming car.
Field of Sunflowers, 2019, Archival Digital Print
On Saturday I saw thirty acres of Sunflowers just coming into bloom. I was reminded of the moving scene in the film Everything Is Illuminated when the three travelers find their destination. She is an old woman living in a small house surrounded by blooming sunflowers. How radiant is our world if we can See.
I need a plan while hoping the Giant doesn’t climb down that beanstalk, 2019, Archival Digital Print
It dawned on me last week that what makes The Homestead magical, or put another way, what my land elicits in me, is the sense of magic and wonder I felt when I was six or seven. It is the gift this place gives me. Everywhere I walk, explore, see, I make finds I hadn’t expected. It’s quite preposterous, I know, and I don’t expect anyone to believe me though anyone who has walked it when visiting feels it, too.
The beanstalk in this photo (actually a Wild Grape Vine) is an example. It is growing in the lush green of the ravine behind the dog pen. It is a steep drop down there where Deer, Fox, Raccoons and Nicky, the feral cat, run and travel. The Wild Turkeys, too. The pond is lower and to the right of this photo so this area teems all year ’round with comings and goings. There is a density here as well, so every day there is a new surprise, a new animal, a new sound, a new flower.
It isn’t a stretch to think that one dusky evening, I’ll be out there with the dogs and hear what I first think is thunder, the dogs will look up and stand perfectly still, my eyes will follow as the ground starts to shake and we’ll see those huge hairy legs start to descend from high above. I’ll open the gate and we’ll run like hell into the house.