Changes in life often come unforeseen.
I definitely didn’t see it coming.
The scene was set and it was late summer. I had just left the southern Virginia coastline, because of hurricane/evacuation warnings. Within 24-hours a devastating storm hit the East Coast—but not where it was first predicted to hit. Its ravages hit way up north in New Jersey and New York. Thousands of people, including myself, were caught unawares and most of what I owned including photographic equipment, artwork and family memorabilia was destroyed. I had recently experienced dramatic changes in my life and had put many of my possessions in storage. After the hurricane, I went to my storage to find all my things strewn everywhere as indistinguishable, soggy clumps. Desperately I tried to save anything I could, but I was forced to make quick choices—what to try to save and what to let go of. Literally, my life was washing away in front of me.
One item that survived was a 4x5 view camera that I hadn’t used for many years. I took that as a sign for how I could salvage other aspects of my life. I decided to have it refurbished and began working with larger scale negatives using classic Tri-X film. I returned to the lengthy process of composing and shooting—where there was no going back or deleting once the shutter opened and closed. Stillness, patience, and longer periods of exposure and set-up became my mantra. I used this process to re-create and re-examine the “chambers” of my life as a woman, wife, and mother. My life had been pealed back from many material possessions and roles simultaneously. So I followed the trail of what was left behind and searched to find meaning in the flickering “illusions” of light I saw dancing in the dark “chamber” of my camera, my life.
“Life is a fairy tale. Live it with wonder and amazement.”
― Welwyn Wilton Katz (children’s author)