Photographs From Home
My father gave me my first camera when I was seven years old. It was a Kodak Brownie, and I delighted in roaming my childhood domain documenting curiosities found close to home. No one in my family ever throws anything away, so we still have those 3”x3” glossy black and white images: our shaggy black dog pinned in place for a sitting, my brother proudly clutching his bow and arrows, the excavated back yard in the newly minted development called Levittown, Pennsylvania.
Nothing much has changed in a way. Though I have traveled all over the world and photographed in places as remote as Iceland, Sri Lanka, and the Aeolian Islands, I am still fascinated by the poetry, drama, and redolence of the local landscape and the realm of family and friends.
In 2002, I began photographing my mother who came to live with us when dementia required that she never be left alone. In a reversal of roles, I took care of her, and we were constant companions. She went with me everywhere: lectures and concerts at Dartmouth College where I teach, dinners with neighbors, swimming at the local pond. As her health failed she spent more time sleeping, but she still enjoyed forays into the outdoors, basking in the warm sunshine and the fragrance of the garden.
I also photographed other family members and friends, and particularly my daughter, an only child now finding her way into the adult world. The two most important women in my life presented themselves to the camera, and I bore witness to the visible passing of time.
Five years later, my mother died at home when she was almost 94 years old. Although this was an emotional and difficult time, I have photographs that celebrate the beauty and fragility of these intimate moments with the people we love and in the places we call home.
Lyme, New Hampshire