In My Solitude
When I purchased my first professional digital camera in 2009 I turned away from studio work for five years and shifted my focus back to documentary photography. The first collection of photographs from this period, Eighteen Days in the Land of Israel, was exhibited in 2011 at Pucker Gallery. One of the other projects I completed in this period was a collection of candid photographs of people in my home city, Gloucester, MA which are currently being exhibited and organized into a book titled, Tutta la Famiglia; Portrait of a Sicilian Cafe in America.
In 2013 a dear friend and fellow artist began to pressure me to return to the still life genre. I was reluctant. I was fearful of repeating old work. Yet I knew she was right and that it was important for me to go back into my studio.
Returning to a contemplative studio process was difficult. I was self-conscious, clumsy, stiff and timid. I never was one who pre-conceived images. For me it is always a process of discovery. But this time I was floundering, directionless, not even knowing what to photograph. My film came back from the lab with strong composition and lighting elements yet it meant nothing to me. This continued for quite some time. I was deeply frustrated and dissatisfied and I was becoming increasingly pessimistic.
Then somehow I saw layers. Literally. The surfaces of wood, slate and marble which had been lingering in my studio for years, began to pile one upon the other. This meant something – visually and viscerally. The objects began to assemble. Fruit, flowers, pods, seeds, nuts, onions, garlic, bread and velvet found their places on the stage and relationships between them began to emerge. Still Life. Nature Morte. Bodegón. Vanitas. Memento Mori. I was back in the solitude of my studio, where photography is such sweet sorrow.