Category Archives: Uncategorized

North of the Wall

We have not had a winter quite like this one here in New England in a very long time. A storm has arrived on a Sunday as consistently as a preacher to the pulpit. Unrelenting below freezing temperatures have solidified snow in mountainous piles. Icicles reach for the ground and triumphantly hit their mark. It has been compared to living North of the Wall, Ice Planet Hoth, Elsa’s Ice Castle…no one dares hum a bar of her unspeakable anthem. It’s no joke in and around Boston.

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I grew up just south of Boston in a busy suburb which is now even busier. Congested. When I go back I drive directly to my parents’ house. On top of a hill hidden from the neighborhood below, my childhood home is surrounded by acres of mostly untouched woodland. It is lush in summer and a wonderland in the winter; bursting in spring and vividly crisp in the fall. Fragrant year round.

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Buried under six feet or more of snow it is treacherous at first site, but once you realize you can not fight mother nature, it returns to being magical. Even mystical.

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Most folks are cringing at the idea of more snow coming this weekend. I can not stop it from coming. So I may as well sink into it’s rhythm. Instead of digging my heels in and tensing, I am trying to take my time and float as slowly as possible through these next few days, weeks, months of winter.

Stormy 2015 Web-16

We’re in the 401

The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind for me. In early August I broke my leg which for a photographer who primarily works with kids is more than inconvenient. Fortunately, I did not require surgery and healed enough to start working again in time for the busy season.  Finally I am catching up and ready to breath into the holidays.

Right before I broke my leg, I attended my son’s capoeira graduation (see previous post) and in addition to the capoeiraistas, a local B Boy crew, Project 401, was invited to perform. As soon as the music was cued, I knew I needed to find a spot and grab my son…this was going to be special…no important.

And it was.

B Boy FaCce Maldonado, one of the founders of Project 401performing at Waterfire, Providence

B Boy FaCce Maldonado, one of the founders of Project 401performing at Waterfire, Providence

B Boy Jurrassick (Saulo Castillo) of Project 401

B Boy Jurrassick (Saulo Castillo) of Project 401

In the months since this event, I have been out to photograph Project 401 and other elements of the Providence Hip Hop scene, because the work that these artists are doing is important and inspiring. It is inspiring to me, but also to my children (especially my boys) who love to dance.

B Boy Sydsho (Oliver Arias) at the Avenue Sandwich, Downtown Providence

B Boy Sydsho (Oliver Arias) at the Avenue Sandwich, Downtown Providence

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B Boy Mike Figs at the Avenue Sandwich September 2013

I love this work. I love the energy that is created by this particular group of people which is made up of Emcees, DJ’s, B Boys, B Girls, and graffiti artists…the four elements of Hip Hop coming together. Hip Hop in its incarnation in the early 70’s was not about anger and violence. It was about creating an outlet for the anger and violence. It was a movement about generating peace and respect. It was meant to unify and activate communities. Hip Hop was innovative drawing off some of the traditions of jazz, drumming, dance, poetry, developing something never experienced in the art and political world.  It gave a powerful intelligent voice to communities of people that were previously marginalized and exploited by the media as uneducated and violent.

B Bot FaCce leading a workshop at The Movement Exchange in Pawtucket

B Boy FaCce leading a workshop at The Movement Exchange in Pawtucket

Here in Providence, there is an authentic Hip Hop movement.  Project 401 is a part of that movement. This extraordinary crew mentors at risk youth exposing them to the art of BBoying (or Breakin’) and the peaceful intelligent message of Hip Hop. They travel to schools across the state and in New England, hold workshops, participate in community events, cross over and merge with other forms dance. They are always working, rehearsing, educating, and expanding their knowledge and positive presence.

B Boy FaCce co-hosting an event at AS220 in Providence

B Boy FaCce co-hosting an event at AS220 in Providence

B Boy Abel Carrera,  free style MC at AS220 Providence, RI

B Boy Abel Carrera, free style MC at AS220 Providence, RI

B Boy Sydsho, freestyle emcee at AS220 Providence, RI

B Boy Sydsho, freestyle emcee at AS220 Providence, RI

As an artist, I find their passion and energy inspiring. I have learned so much in just a few short months about Hip Hop culture and its importance in our city. As a parent, I deeply appreciate that my boys are able to be mentored by extraordinary dancers who are also extraordinary people. When they tell me they want to be B Boys when they grow up, I couldn’t be happier, because here in the 401, being a B Boy not only means being a dancer, it means being a teacher, being passionate, and living life with integrity and a peaceful heart.

B Boy FaCce and my youngest son in a workshop at The Movement Exchange

B Boy FaCce and my youngest son in a workshop at The Movement Exchange

B Girl Kiara of Project 401 helping my daughter with choreography at The Movement Exchange in Pawtucket

B Girl Kiara of Project 401 helping my daughter with choreography at The Movement Exchange in Pawtucket

The Project 401 Family, B Boy Abel, B Boy Jurrassick, B Boy FaCce, B Boy Largo, B Boy Sydsho, B Boy Mike Figs

The Project 401 Family, B Boy Abel, B Boy Jurrassick, B Boy FaCce, B Boy Largo, B Boy Sydsho, B Boy Mike Figs

For more in formation about the workshop at The Movement Exchange in Pawtucket visit the facebook event or The Movement Exchange Event Page.

We Have Arrived…

Finally.

Easter 2013-7

Spring is officially here in little Rhode Island which means it is time to get outside. It is also time to put my iPhone down and take out my “real camera.” In the past couple weeks, I have been working on getting back into the groove, working outside with the kids and bringing my camera along.

This week I was turning my winter rye under in one of my garden beds when I noticed my little guys sitting in the neighbors yard picking “wish flowers.” I began to eaves drop and heard some of their wishes…simple requests like wanting all of their grandparents to be at their birthday party this year.

So I dropped the pitchfork and grabbed the camera.

Wishes

The Little Guys aren’t always so agreeable to having their pictures taken, so I need to be stealth or sneaky to catch a dirty face…

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Or a super hero moment…

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Or just wait until they are sleeping…

Brothers

New Work

This summer and fall have come and gone so quickly. Filled with gardening, farming, birthdays, play time adventures, weddings…

Without much more commentary, here are some captured moments.

Summer began with a trip to Muskoka, reuniting these five siblings and their families and the patriarch. Traveling from the US, Norway, Kosovo, and Canada they try and meet each year.

Autumn lunch break.

Enjoying the last light of summer.

Imagine you are a fire fairy…

Birthday BoyA little man turns fourteen…I mean four.

Newborn livestock and his caretaker…

Looking forward to posting more from the season!

Brothers…

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It is fairly safe to assume that when I am asked to photograph children, families are hoping for that great image of their children all facing the camera with genuine smiles…perfect. And I work really hard to make sure we get that photograph. But, what I really love is all the interaction in between that tells the real story of the unique relationship between siblings. I love working with all types of sibling combinations, but there is something so special about photographing brothers. They are active, creative, full of energy, physical, without abandon…and when they really need to band together for the money shot, they get the job done.

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Cheryl in Wonderland

Dear curious Alice could not help herself when she saw the White Rabbit dressed in a waist coat. She had to follow him just to be sure of herself. Poor Alice had no idea that when she peered into the rabbit hole she would find herself falling endlessly and landing in a place that would be so dreadful, delightful and filled with wonder.

I feel like I have fallen into my own Wonderland following the White Rabbit of my personal history. Without question, I knew that as an adoptee, choosing to access my original birth record would have me spiraling down a mysterious tunnel and meandering through a world that has simultaneously filled me with excitement and joy countered by fear and sadness.

Once I was able to see what was before me, names and faces I have never met (yet I resemble) in places I have known through other life experiences, I knew I needed to sort through this transition with paint. I set my camera aside, dusted off my easel and dragged out a blank canvas that had been in storage for five years. I had no idea what to paint. I had no images in mind so started by painting all 48 by 60 inches yellow.

I started at the bottom and worked my to half way through the canvas when I realized I had plenty of images I could place on the canvas. I opted to start at the beginning with an image related to my birth.

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Why a painting in a photography site? Lately, my artistic heart has been spending a lot of time painting while my camera takes a little rest. I actually feel like my photography is benefiting from the break. Holding my camera is like reconnecting with a dear friend who also understands that as life changes so do our relationships with one another.

For now, painting is truly therapeutic as I move through this emotional adventure in my own version of Wonderland.

 

Willet Pond

Technically I live in the city. Not a city like New York, Boston, or even Providence, but it’s not quite the suburbs either. Like most cities there are green spaces, parks, and in our case the bay. There is also Willet Pond. When you drive by it ‘s almost a  blip, but if you slow down (or better yet stop), it’s a lovely little slice of nature. `

My children love the pond. They get to see frogs, bugs, birds, turtles, fish. We hike and collect sticks that become “fishing poles.” This past week we stopped on our way back from errands. As soon as we pulled up, a pair of swans swam over to the bank to have a closer look. And then closer and closer and closer….they were really close! The boys wanted to pet them, but of course I had to corral them away and explain that swans are large and sometimes angry birds! Once the boys settled down we just sat and watched each other. Then the swans sauntered back to the water and we started off on our walk.

They escorted us for a ways. When we stopped to watch each other a little more, I took a few pictures. This being one of them.

Majestic and handsome. Floating quietly in a small city.

Willet Pond is right across from the Providence Coffee Roasters plaza. If you come by on Thursday, you might catch a glimpse of our friends…