Friday, September 28, 2012

Callie Crossley Interviews Photographer Melissa Shook

Melissa Shook spoke about her book "My Suffolk Downs" in a radio interview with Callie Crossley.  It was clear that Crossley had carefully read the book, and clear that Melissa Shook had made the invisible workers at the track visible.  Please tune in.

The talented Melissa without her camera.

Callie Crossley

Friday, September 21, 2012

Autumn White

'Season of mellow fruitfulness,' wrote Keats.  Mellow--we think of orange and red.  Yet there's plenty of white this time of year.   These whites seems to transcend any season: flowers, antique auto, striped crossing, Emily Dickinson's dress.   When winter comes I'll be looking for red.    

White autos are rare in New England.

Stripe on stripe.

A dress that is supposed to have belonged to Emily Dickinson.  You can see it in the family manse in Amherst.  The dress is smaller than it appears in this photo.

Here are some strong lines from Dickinson:

The Mind lives on the Heart
Like any parasite--
If that is full of Meat
The Mind is fat--

Her work always surprises me.

Crumbling is not an instant's Act
A fundamental pause
Dilapidation's processes 
Are organized Decays--

'Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul
A cuticle of Dust
A Borer in the Axis
An elemental Rust--

Ruin is formal--Devil's work
Consecutive and slow--
Fail in an instant, no man did
Slipping--is Crashe's law--

Time to sweep out the cobwebs!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Drawing with Melissa Shook


Melissa Shook and I have been drawing together at the dining room table.  "Parallel play," someone called it.  Play for the sake of play, without ambition, trying to do justice to the tomatoes, onions, and pear.  We never got to the potatoes.

Melissa likes to work with  pen and ink.  The lines build up and gather mass.  The color is from oil pastels.  Melissa brought a dandy set.

She's fearless with brown.

We left the porch door open.  The breeze came in.

The ball chair is good for the back.  Melissa's dog Bogie kept us company.

I was happy with onions.

Onions and a single pear.

I want to you see these marvelous tomatoes!  We ate it with dinner--the large red one.  Another friend joined us.  First big big green olives and Vovray, then corn chowder made from Rebecca Loudon's recipe, followed by the tomato with olive oil, garlic and basil, ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bumming Around & Taking Pictures

There are few things better than bumming around.  The other day J. and I went to Mt. Auburn Cemetery.  ''It's so beautiful here," I said to J., "death doesn't seem so bad."  "I keep death and nature separate," J. answered, meaning, I believe, that sky, trees, birds were in one category and death in another.  The sky was dramatic.

Here is a tall ship sailing in stone.

Yesterday A. and I walked through Robbins Park and admired the fans hanging from the trees.

They caught the wind.

And here are a few lines about taking pictures:

Keep still! I say to children
but let cattails shake, asters shiver,
oak creak,  hawks dive,
branches crack, leaves silver,
storms rip, so the world reveals
secrets and my picture blurs.