I moved to New York City from San Francisco to run CBS Records’ Customer Merchandising department, a heady job for a young woman barely two years out of college, producing graphic and photographic merchandising visuals at the recording label that was home to so many musical artists I had loved in my young life.
When I travel, I like to take long walks through the streets of the villages and cities I visit, taking pictures of street scenes and landscapes as I go. But mostly, I like to take pictures of people, stopping them to ask if they would mind. If they don’t mind, interesting things can happen.
What a pleasure it has been shooting a video artist profile of photographer, artist, author, teacher and mentor Cheryl Machat Dorskind. I have spent the last two months driving back and forth between New York City and Cheryl’s home in Westhampton, New York, shooting her in her studio and in her backyard, and accompanying her on professional portrait shoots, a photography boat safari, and random photography walks on the inland wetlands and the beach and marsh landscape of Eastern Long Island.
When I travel, I prefer to take photos of people I randomly encounter, rather than of sites I visit. I have photographed my share of monuments and parks and churches and bridges, and I imagine I always will, but they serve mostly to remind me that I have visited a place, jarring something in my memory about a particular time in my life.
E.B. White’s Here is New York is my favorite book about my favorite American city. Published in 1949, it is considered an essay, most likely because of its short length, a mere 56 pages, into which White packed such timeless observations about the island of Manhattan that this ‘book’ has a permanent place on my desk in New York.
In the Summer of 2006, the day before I returned to New York after using my entire year’s vacation to study Italian at the Università per Stranieri in Siena, Italy, I took an early bus to Arezzo and spent the morning roaming the city taking pictures. After the cool early hours had morphed into lunchtime, I found a little trattoria on a small piazza where I could have a salad and a cold glass of Prosecco to ward off the heat that had begun to rise from the cobbled vicolos.
Arriving, I remember everything exactly as it was – the sights, sounds and smells of a place I have often visited in my memory these past 37 years. White Calla Lilies tucked among the wild grasses alongside Stinson Beach in winter, hawks kiting into the wind, wings outstretched, suspended above the surf. Fog, guardian of seaside mysteries, shroud for molting Eucalyptus, billowing a warning to stay off the winding mountain road, yet beckoning one onward. Sunglasses lightly misting over with sea spray, ears cooled by the coastal wind, dry lips salted and licked. Sea foam and kelp bulbs, children giggling and dogs digging, and cold wet sand rising up through painted red toes.