Even though I live in the city, I attempted to transform my small backyard into a space filled with plants and a pond…it’s my moment of zen! (believe me, after doing all the digging for the pond, I needed that moment!). I went out today with a camera and book. The first photo would be called, “Imitation” (I think Buddha has the right idea while the robin is still a bit too uptight) and the second would be “Merging” where flow and reflection create that gentle mood.
Last night the weather was perfect and the moon was full. It was a perfect June night to be down by the river at Boathouse Row. There is a spot on the West River Drive directly across from the boathouses that provides the opportunity to pull off the road and take pictures. I was there a little after dusk when the night begins to darken and the lights begin to glow. A perfect time to capture the colors and the mood of an easy June weekend.
This weekend was so beautiful and even though things are really busy right now (which is all a good thing!) I decided to go out and shoot for a bit. In the mail, I received a flyer on Bryn Athyn Cathedral Sacred Arts – “Painting with Light”- creating medieval stained glass art as well as “The Emerging Vessel” – handbuilding and throwing pottery. So I thought this would be the perfect new spot to explore. Upon entering the grounds, I felt like I was back in England with the majestic cathedral spires and the absolutely beautiful, pristine gardens. It is truly a place of peace and tranquility with the unspoken invitation to people to just come, relax and be a part of this serenity for a time. The website provides very informative and interesting information on the history and symbolism, architecture (“there are no right angles or straight lines in the cathedral”), museum and the many programs offered integrating art and spirituality…a fascinating and beautiful spot right outside of Philadelphia.
A t 1022 South Street, Isaiah Zagar began “what could be called a life’s work, making the city of Philadelphia into a labyrinthine mosaic museum that incorporates my varied knowledge and skills.” When I recently walked through this “garden space”, I was surrounded by an explosion of color and ideas which drew from Isaiah’s time in South America with the Peace Corps and it was truly magical! I spent hours exploring every ceiling, wall, floor and tucked away corners…no space went untouched by Isaiah’s vision! Dennis Harvey of the San Francisco Bay Guardian stated, “Because Isaiah’s epic mosaics of tile, paint and embedded detritus are so remarkable, you’ll want to book the next flight to Philly to see them.” I highly agree! His son, Jeremiah, created a documentary on his father’s work entitled, “In A Dream” which is now playing throughout the US.
Memorial Day is the official start of the summer and my memories drift back to all those summers when my parents would pack up all my brothers and sisters and I to go to Wildwood, N.J. for the day. We would spend what seemed to be forever walking the longest beach around to get just that right spot within walking distance of the ocean, food and the bathrooms! Not an easy task! Then, we would spend the night on the boardwalk amusement piers. Hunts Pier was always one of my favorites. Who needed Disneyland when you have Wildwood!
While at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, all visitors are asked to observe complete silence. Silence is such a powerful tool in that it asks one to draw the experience inward without trying to search for words to speak. I was very grateful that was required because there were no words in my vocabulary that could ever convey the depth of that experience. I sit here in silence and remember my father, my uncle, my friends and all who put the freedom and safety of others before their own…there are no words.
On this very special day devoted to honoring our Mothers, I would like to take the time to do just that. My Mother was truly my best friend…she was the woman I was named after (which is a lot of pressure but what a gift!)…she was the woman who watched me when I first saw the photography from a “real” camera and worked very hard so that I would have one as a Christmas present…and she was such great fun to be with! My Mother was a gatherer. She loved adventures and the more people who could be a part, the better. She showed me by her example how to embrace it all, appreciating the good times and facing the most difficult challenges with true courage.
Several weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be in the presence of greatness. I spent the day with David Tejada in one of Philadelphia’s “must see” sites – The Eastern State Penitentiary. David is truly a master of lighting and he developed a workshop entitled, “Small Strobes, Big Results”. Exploring spaces of muted peeling paint, texture and historical character in each cell with vaulted sky lit ceilings, David shared his expertise in controlling, modifying and shaping the light using only small strobes. Along with the faint voices of the prisoners past, one could hear the collective sigh of relief that amazing results could be achieved without having to carry huge lighting equipment! Three to four small strobes attached to a hot shoe with a pocket wizard coordinating the firing served to create the big results David promised. The goal of every photographer is to continually become more attuned to the light and at the end of this day, our goal had been achieved.
With 9 inches of snow here in Philadelphia, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit the Philadelphia Flower Show and be transported to Italy. Flourishing gardens, villas, free flowing fountains and wine tasting…these sensual delights enabled me to experience the fullness of spring and know that the true fruiting of that promising time was not that long off. Ciao!