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Twenty Two | A Creative Collaboration Between Two Cousins

In Art, collaboration, landscape, local artist, personal, Photography, Portrait, twenty two on August 19, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Dear Cousin –

I’m breaking all the rules with this post. It’s a day early for one. Wednesday already feels like it’s going to get away from me – so I’m grabbing this free moment and squeezing every ounce out of it to make sure I blog my photos. For two – though I initiated the “let’s shoot with the same lens” idea and agreed to shoot with my 50 – I didn’t do it. My 35 came in the mail and I just had to give it a test run. I’m really loving it – and am so glad you nudged the project a bit because it totally rejuvenated me. Thanks lady!! :)  My photo walk wound up being a few different days – from the first image made with my 35, to a trip to the beach – the one summer thing I’ve done this year!!, and one from an inspiring portrait shoot I did today. Here you go! Love you. Can’t wait to see yours. :)

The first image from the new 35 …. yay!! Wide open and sharp.

Beach cottage playfulness. Love the fluff container turned flower vase. When is the last time you had fluff? When I lived out West I met people who had never heard of it.

Photographer HEAVEN!! The perfectly blue sky turned cloudy and I began to salivate! Can you relate?

I bid so long to my beach buddies and moved on down the road. I just had to chase the stormy moodiness.

Lastly, and respectfully – one image from a recent portrait session. Carey just had a double mastectomy and we are going to document the changes, the scars, the recovery. She’s given me permission to share all the images – which I will do one day. It was an honor for me to do this with her – and she said it was very cathartic for her. ♥♥♥

Lydia is a photographer in NYC and I’m in CT. We decided a while back that we wanted to work on a project together – and we’re still figuring out what that is. Here is a LINK to my first post which explains the idea and here is a LINK to Lydia’s last post in the project.

Twenty Two [A Creative Collaboration Between Two Cousins] | Story

In Art, collaboration, local artist, personal, Photography, twenty two on February 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

The last time the spirit of change called her it was a quiet whisper – an achy, familiar longing she could not deny.


Lydia’s last post

My last post

About Twenty Two Story Project

Twenty Two [A Creative Collaboration Between Two Cousins]

In collaboration, personal, Photography, twenty two on January 21, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Lydia and I are moving our project in a new direction. Here is her post explaining the idea and revealing her first picture – to which I am responding below.

Here’s the idea. Last week she took a picture and posted it on her blog. This week I am responding to her picture with words (I am challenging myself to keep it to twenty-two words each week) – which will be the beginning of what we hope will be an unfolding story – and posting my picture – to which she will respond the next week.

While the ingredients for her amazing cranberry apple chutney were simmering, she wondered what the ingredients for an amazing life would be. 


About our project.

Lydia’s last post. (prior to “story line”)

My last post prior to “story line”

Twenty Two [A creative collaboration between two cousins]

In Art, collaboration, local artist, personal, Photography, twenty two on December 12, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Photo Walk on Main Street : Things that are Black or White

Hi Lyd,

Congrats on your two publications this week! So exciting! :)

I know you may post a day or two late this week – and I am posting a day early – so we balance each other out. I’m in the office at the studio and despite the fact that I have the heat cranked to 75 it is still cold in here. This is one of those rooms that is going to stay hot all summer and cold all winter. Lake Street Dive radio is playing on Pandora in the other room and I’m forcing myself to do this blog post because I have time right now.

I’ve been feeling a little “bleh” this week so it was the perfect time for us to explore “photography as therapy”. Your post from last week was inspiring. It reminded me, as it did you, of some of the things we loved about photography in the beginning. Going on photo walks was definitely an outlet and meditation for me. It didn’t matter if anyone ever saw the images – something worked through me and I’d always feel more energized after. That’s what happened with these too. I was feeling sort of down when I started my walk on Main Street and by the end my mood had completely shifted. I think “photo walks” should be an added tool in Art Therapy. It makes your forget yourself.

I don’t think I’d normally share any of these images. It was SO cold out – my fingers almost fell off – that there was little thought put into composition, etc. I was just looking for our chosen colors. Blobbity blob – they are what they are and I’m sharing them with you. That little dog is named Tilly. She was a rescue and I fell in love with her. She was behind the counter in a shop I went into (to get out of the bitter cold) and came out to say hello. The owner said she never comes out to see anyone (she was abused by her past owners). I think she wanted a massage. All animals ask me for one. ;)

Love you!!


About Twenty Two

My post from last week

Lydia’s post to be updated here later.

twenty two [a creative collaboration between two cousins]

In Art, collaboration, local artist, personal, Photography, twenty two, Uncategorized on December 6, 2013 at 11:32 AM

This weeks subject: Anxiety | Depression | Panic Attacks

Hello my dear cousin L ~

How are you? I’m really liking how this project is keeping us connected. Or – getting us connected. Even if when we don’t interact between postings (and I’m so glad we did connect this week) – I believe that doing work like this joins us together in spirit no matter the physical distance between us. We choose a challenging topic this week. I’ve experienced all three of these things in the past and part of me didn’t want to go there again. To photograph something like a panic attack means needing to try to remember how it felt – and it was scary enough experiencing it the first time. I resisted the process and had a lot of empathy for people who write memoirs about troubling pasts because it gave me a glimpse into how brave they have to be to take on that mantle of pain again, for a short time, to make sense of it and share it to try to help another human being.

I’m not sure if it’s a help or a hindrance to explain these pictures or not. Sometimes it’s best to let the viewer find their own meaning. What I will say it that making art awes me. I started off with a particular idea for these images – and they wound up expressing something entirely different then what I was consciously intending – but that are totally on point with how I viewed my struggles with these things. I’m becoming more convinced that Art makes and uses us – more than the other way around. When I give up control and submit myself to the process it is like making room for an idea that has been patiently waiting to be born to come through – we are just the vessel. Do you know what I mean?

I love you and am sending a hug.


Click on the images to see them in full.

Lydia’s post for this week is here.

About our project: Twenty Two

Twenty Two [A Creative Collaboration Between Two Cousins]

In Art, collaboration, cooking, local artist, personal, Photography, twenty two on November 29, 2013 at 12:59 PM


Hi L –

Happy day after Thanksgiving. How was yours? I spent the day at Donna’s and got to see (not touch) our new (second) cousin. He is SO cute!! Seriously adorable with little man lips and lots of squishy-ness. We weren’t allowed to pick him up yet. I think it would have been a little much with so many people wanting a piece of him.

So – I totally failed on taking pictures this week – except for this one quick one yesterday morning. We all brought something this year and Donna & Kent cooked the turkey. My assignment was 10 pounds of mashed potatoes. I thought I’d at least do a before and after – but no. I put the taters on to boil, left the room … and came back to a total toxic, plastic smelling, nausea inducing smell. Not sure if it was the bottom of one of the pans or on the burner … but the kitchen was a vat of stink and all I wanted to do was finish making the dish and get out of there – so no after picture came to be.

What are we shooting next week?

Love you,


About our project: Twenty Two

Lydia’s Post from last week: Objects

Lydia’s Post about Food

Twenty Two [A Creative Collaboration Between Two Cousins]

In Art, collaboration, local artist, personal, Photography, twenty two on November 22, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Main Topic: HOME

Sub Topic: Objects [that make us feel at home]

Hi L,

It’s rainy here this morning and all I want to do is crawl back in bed with a good book. Instead I’m in the studio getting ready to do my first massage of the day and finishing up my post to you.  What are we going to shoot next week? Maybe our readers can pick the “sub topic” for us?

As you know, at least I think you know, everything I owned was in a storage unit for three years (after I’d been laid off, traveled, etc). That time was a great reminder of how little we really  need to live. My life was still full and filled with laughter and love even without all my junk. When I moved into the studio and got all that stuff out of storage I was almost overwhelmed by some of it – AND so excited to see a few of the things I’d forgotten about. This candlestick is one. About 14 years and 3000 miles ago I worked with a young guy who was trying to figure out what to with his life. He really loved working with wood – but his family/friends made him feel that doing any sort of work that involved artistry wasn’t a smart economical move. We had long talks about it and I passionately insisted he need to follow his heart and talents. No regrets. One morning he showed up for his shift with this candlestick. He’d been up all night making it and had come in to tell me he was quitting his job as he’d been accepted at a woodworking school near the Redwood Trees in CA. I was so proud of him – and inspired by his courage! The candlestick is a treasured object in my home. It reminds me of a wonderful soul, of taking risks and of how much we can be impacting other lives without ever knowing it.

The Muppets are just goofy and they make me smile. When I lived out in WA I worked at a Starbucks while going to massage school. These little guys were an item that we sold and when they went on sale I scooped them up. They remind me to not take life so seriously and are a throw back to my childhood. I did grow up watching them on t.v. (ugh, that ages me).

Lastly, this lovely little piece of pottery. A gift from a very talented friend who makes jewelry out in Portland, OR. Something about it makes me feel calm. The card behind it came from the Farnsworth Art Museum up in Maine. A friend and I had gone there to see the Wyeth collection – pictured is a painting that was done at the Olson house. The light in his paintings, along with the soft, muted – sort of grayed out colors – also go a long way to soothe my soul. Also – and I didn’t get anything of his – we saw an exhibit by Paul Caponigro when we were there. He’s not someone either of us had known about. He was a landscape photographer who worked with people like Minor White. He’d done work called “The Hidden Presence of Places” that I got chills from. I felt a calling to his work and to follow a similar path. So, even though the card is a painting from Wyeth – it also brings me back to Caponigro and reminds me to keep growing in our shared craft so that one day I can follow that call I felt. Do you think photography is a craft by the way? Or an art?

Til next time.


Here is a link to Lydia’s post from last week:

Here is her link for this week:

Twenty Two [A Creative Collaboration Between Two Cousins]

In Art, local artist, personal, Photography, twenty two on November 15, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Dear L,

I love this line from your first post “It will become an experience which, I hope, supplies us both with many opportunities for incredible growth, questioning, challenge, and all the other amazing crap that art-making throws our way on a regular basis.”

So much has come up for me since we agreed to explore the topic of “where we feel at home”. I’m more at ease with “sense of place” then a “sense of place as home”.

As I told you in our first emails about the project – home is a tough topic for me. I’ve moved around quite a bit – both as a child and an adult. Even in the years that I’ve been back here in CT I have lived in about 5 different places and spent over a year traveling around the country to teach myself about photography. I’m really not sure where home as a physical space is for me. I spent six months in a sublet on the coast of Maine not too long ago and that place called out to me more than anywhere I’ve been in a long time. Anytime I connect with people I love – be that on the phone, online or in person – that space becomes home. We all know the saying “home is where the heart is” – and it’s true – and it’s everywhere we go.

The first pictures I took for this post were pretty ones. A blue Ball jar filled with white stones from a beach in RI – the afternoon light falling across it lazily. A cold fall morning – the leaves and grass-covered with a crispy dew. Then on a recent drive I came across this tobacco barn. It is old, abandoned and not always the safest place to be. I’ve photographed it many times.  I’ve even dragged people and objects here so I could photograph them in it.  I couldn’t resist stopping to explore.

Later that afternoon I drove by this old racket ball court. Not abandoned – thought it carries that vibe. It’s another place I used to come to on photo adventures so I made a few more images. The little boy was on the trail by the courts. He saw my camera – abandoned his bicycle on the path – and ran full speed towards me. He wanted to learn about the camera, take a picture, say cheese and never leave. I’ve included him here because I loved how at home in himself he was.

I realized in this process that I feel comfortable  in these falling down, architectural places. It’s not the emptiness that attracts me so much as the adventure of it. Knowing that maybe you’re not supposed to be there. Witnessing what others left behind. Feeling the spirit that still lingers. It makes me feel alive more than anything safe does.  I feel at home pushing the boundaries just a little bit and stepping outside of the box. It opens my eyes and helps to change perspectives – which is something we as artists are constantly striving to do.

That’s all for now. I’m looking forward to seeing your post today.


To see Lydia’s post from today click here.

About Twenty Two

Twenty Two [A Creative Collaboration Between Two Cousins]

In Art, local artist, personal, Photography, twenty two on November 8, 2013 at 7:10 AM

Dear Lydia,

I’m so excited to be starting this project with you!!

I want this first post to be a little bit of an “aside” to our readers to help them understand what we are doing and why.

Lydia and I are cousins with a 22 year age difference between us. In addition to the generation gap, we’ve never lived close enough to one another to bond as much as we might like to.  We are both creatively bent and having little love affairs with our cameras.  Lydia went to college for photography right out of high school and I taught myself after the age of 40. The idea of collaborating on a project together has come up on several of our last visits and today is the day to begin! Yay!!

One of my ideas had been to explore our perspectives on the world. Pick a subject – each of us shoot it – and learn from each other. I’ve been reflecting lately on how much the way the world sees us can affect how we see the world and how we value self. I’m curious to find out where our commonalities are – how much do our shared family genes shapes us; and where our differences are. (And I love the differences – they open your eyes to new worlds) Factually speaking: I am the oldest cousin – Lydia is the youngest. She is tall and blonde and grew up in the 90’s. I am shorter, take after the Italian side of my family – and grew up in the 70’s/80’s. She’s following her passions straight out of the gate. I’ve come to mine after travelling long, meandering roads in life.

Our project is to photograph a sense of place with the guiding force being to photograph the places where we feel at home. This will give us a chance to get to know one another more intimately and stretch our creative and photographic muscles. We will be posting on Friday’s – each to our own space and linking back to one another. There will be one to several images with a few words.

I encourage you to check out Lydia’s Website and FB page. She is a model, artist and advocate who has only just begun to make her mark on the world. She’s full of energy and is driven to find ways to support the people in her community through their struggles in life. One of the things I admire about Lydia is her willingness to jump in and explore the things she feels passionate about. With a big heart and a willingness to be bold I know she will positively impact all she comes across.

What do you think Lydia? Are you as happy as I am that this has begun? I’m really looking forward to seeing your post next Friday.

Love, love, love,


P.S. Something I didn’t even consider until after creating this first post. I shoot with a Nikon and Lydia with a Cannon. Mines been dropped in water and sand and all the pieces on the back are falling off. Lydia got herself a lovely new camera as a graduation present. They kind of match us – I’m older and starting to fall apart and Lydia is “fresher” if you will. ;-)


Here is a link back to Lydia’s first post – I must say, I love it!

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