Category Archives: Providence

Everything Anew

It’s been a very long time since I have posted anything. Not for a lack of dong anything. More trying to choose which project to write about. This is a good thing. A very good thing.

Over the past 8 months I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting several local artists of all types…mostly dancers, but not all. Being a visual artist, I have generally stuck with my own kind, but lately I have found myself inspired by all forms of expression.

Most recently I was deployed to photograph five local artists whose projects were chosen to fill public spaces in Providence once occupied by the old Route 195. My objective is to document them in their workspaces, during the installation process, and then the final pieces in place. Ideally, I return and photograph the pieces throughout the year they are on display.

This week I visited with local multi-disciplianary artist, Sophia Sobers.

Sophia Studio LR-18

For the Interim Art Installation, she is creating a sculpture that will be installed along the service road that runs above and along Route 95 North near Cathedral Square. The series of pieces will contain living plants and ideally be lit at night using solar lighting installed within the base of each piece.

Sophia Studio LR-2

Sophia explaining the elements of each piece using the small scale models

 

Sophia sanding one of the exterior wood elements

Sophia sanding one of the exterior wood elements

There is a luminous quality to Sophia’s work as well as her work space. Combinations of light, texture, nature are present in her workspace and in the piece she is working on. She seems so genuinely connected to her work. It’s as if her workspace and her work are truly an extension of herself. Photographing her in her element was effortless.

Sophia Studio LR-13

As seamlessly connected as everything felt, I was intrigued with her process and how much consideration she had put into her creative choices. This has been consistent with the other artists I have met with as well. How do you create an installation that will withstand the elements for one year on a limited budget and limited resource? Personally, I am looking forward to seeing this work in place. Especially since I have had the pleasure of meeting the artists.

 

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Eso es Capoeira

Twenty years ago while living in Boston, a dear friend of mine invited me to come observe his capoeira class held at the Dance Complex in Central Square, Cambridge. I watched him practice the slow beautiful movements enamored by the combination of acrobatics and athleticism and fluidity of dance.

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It’s origins are based in Afro-Brazilian slave culture. The slaves disguised precise kicks and strikes in dance. Always accompanied by music, capoeiristas “dance”  and “play games” in a roda, a circle of players and musicians, singing rhythmic call and response songs in Portuguese that lead the pace and movement of the game. The berimbau my friend carried (a single string instrument essential in capoeira music and practice), imitated an appendage that when not being played was carefully carried on his back.

Unlike in sparring matches of more traditional martial arts, there is little contact and lots of smiling and community.

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The Roda at Waterplace Park in Providence, RI

Fast forward 20 years….

My five year-old son loves music. He loves to dance. He started karate and acrobatics at age 3 and was actually quite good at both. The karate was not quite the right fit (not enough freedom of movement and physical expression) and dance classes were also not quite right (not enough freedom of movement and physical expression). What is going to work? I envisioned my friend…

Capoeira

I showed my son a few videos and enrolled him at the only children’s capoeira program in Rhode Island offered by New Wave Martial Arts. New Wave is affiliated with the Rhode Island capoeira group Grupo Ondas.

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My son is not an easy sell for anything. It was a challenge getting him to go to class at times. He is quiet, stubborn, intense, ritualistic, visual, physical…once he was there, he loved it. Capoeira is not just learning a martial art. It is learning about a culture of community and discipline married with peace and joy. When participating in the roda, capoeristas bring energy and laughter. Little Guy lives for the roda

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After a full year of attending class, he earned his first cord, the corde crua, this weekend, inducting him into the capoeira community. It was a big moment. He was nervous. But, he was proud and inspired by watching all the masters, mestres and professors that had traveled from different parts of the country to honor the initiation of new students and the changing of levels for the experienced students, both adults and children.

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Little Guy receiving his cord

The celebration went on for hours…the energy was infectious! One of the most beautiful aspects of the practice is the joy the capoeristas bring to the practice.

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Beginning a game…

The power, athleticism, and beauty of the movements are addictive to watch.

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We stayed for hours…

On the way home I asked my son if he wanted to continue with capoeira.

He emphatically in that “what are you silly?” tone replied

Yes!

We will see the New Wave family back in class next week after a short break this week (just don’t tell Little Guy)

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Chill…

Somehow we transitioned from Summer to Winter without much time to savor the Fall.

I love snow, but…

Having scheduled a few client sessions this weekend, I was hoping that there would be enough snow to give us a nice wintery, holiday look, minus the wet, windy cold. As luck would have it, Sunday morning was beautiful. Maybe a bit too beautiful. there is nothing like snow and bright sunshine to cause all kinds of harsh lighting situations to work around.

These same lighting issues that can make portraits a challenge make landscape delightful. Gorgeous shadows. Fall foliage against the darkened lines of tree trunks and branches that have been dampened, frozen, and thawed. And no time to stop and play! I had a family birthday party to head off to.

As I was driving  past the boat yard, I had to stop. The boats were anchored and bobbing in the sunlight, stacked and covered in snow on their racks, but alas the shots weren’t right. I pulled out and got about ten more feet down the road when I saw this winter resting area for more boats.

This quintessential symbol of Summer layered with what is a quintessential symbol of Winter. Something about these hibernating boats made me realize that even though Summer (and now Fall) had passed me by, I still had winter to look forward to.

And that summer will in fact return before we know it.

Enough About Me.

I love this photograph. I didn’t take it. It was taken by Toronto based photographer and musician Emma-Lee.

This image captures Toronto based musician/ producer Oliver Johnson and musician/ performer, Layah Jane.

The first time (and every time since) I saw Layah and Oliver play,  the connection they made together on stage was  captivating. The perfect blend of their vocal harmonies, guitar melodies and rhythms, Layah’s voice

But, what was truly mesmerizing was watching was how they interacted with one another visually and Energetically.

This image captures an authentic nuance of that unique dynamic.

Five years later they are even more seasoned. They are fine tuned award winning professionals. Their sophistication and soul is complimented by a playfulness that makes me smile out loud just writing about it…

You need to to see them play. You need to hear their music. It’s divine.

I am pleased to announce that they will be playing here in Riverside, Rhode Island on Thursday, November 17 beginning at 6:00PM at Providence Coffee Roasters as a part of their “After Hours” events (click my Events tab to read the details).

Come by for a great cup of organic fair trade coffee, fabulous music and art with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Waddington Elementary Arts and Culture Fund.

By the way…I am honored to reveal that Oli and Layah are family

Weekend Favorites

What a spectacular weekend for being outside in some of my favorite places in the Providence area…

These are some of favorites from various sessions, some scheduled, some not. My favorites are not usually the ones that you will find on the holiday card, but the ones you take in between trying to get your subjects to create the that (almost) perfect image.

Sometimes getting one child to sit still and smile (a real smile) can be a challenge, but getting three or more…I know. I have three kids of my own. There is always one in bunch who no matter what they are doing, what face they are making, you simply never want to toss an image.

Sometimes parents are reluctant to join in during a session. What I love about photographing this family is they interact so natural with each other throughout the session, that I end up with (literally) hundreds of images of an entire family. It’s as if I just happened to bump into to them and took an opportunity to document their Sunday morning at the park. At the end of the session, the kids were done with me (as they always are), so I asked the parents to stop and let me get a quick shot of just them. And then of course, someone (I thought was done) wanted to join in!

I love my niece. She is a whirlwind of energy entwined with quiet pensive moments…a delight to observe. Typical of an almost 7 year-old, she is either running away from me or dramatically posing when I get my gear out. If I hang around long enough, she gets bored with me and then I can take pictures at will and capture some of the quiet moments. But not this one. She’s on the run playfully trying to escape…I was almost fast enough!