Well, here it is, the first portrait taken of me and Maria and the author's bio photo for "Second Chance Dog: A Love Story," to be published in November by Random House. Much as I am not easy being photographed, I love this photo, it captures the intense love of this wonderful triangle. Maria always looks beautiful to me, but George Forss, brilliant man that he is, captured her radiance. Frieda got into the spirit of things and didn't try to kill any chickens or barn cats. I am happy to see this photo, as Maria and I have never had a portrait done. George did a great job.
We began painting Maria's Schoolhouse Studio yellow last Fall, but the winter interrupted the job. We're resuming work on it. Today, going to the dump, now heading to the bookstore for some recommending (518 677-2515). Putting up a clothesline later, weed-whacking, heading out for a walk, going to Williamstown, Mass. for some Vietnamese food.
On this farm, our barn cats are much less wild and ephemeral than at the first Bedlam Farm. Flo has claimed the back porch as her territory, she sits on her various thrones and gazes out at the world. We see little evidence of hunting, but then, there are also no mice, rats or other rodents around that we can see. When George Forss came to photograph us yesterday, he and I both saw the same shot at the same time, there is so much going on in this photograph. We are putting up a clothesline in the back yard today, hopefully, we have lots to do.
Our second photo session with George Forss went smoothly. Maria and I took it a bit more seriously, dressed up a bit and George and I found a good spot to move the wicker cushion. I was a bit shocked when George told me he only charges $35 for a photo shoot, this is shockingly low for one of the most celebrated landscape photographers in the world. George is the epitome of grace, people are always giving him their old cameras and he is always patching them up and re-using them. He and I shot some photos of Flo – more and more, we are spotting the same images to photograph, and this makes me very proud and happy. I am learning to compose photographs more thoughtfully and this is largely George's doing watching him is so valuable to me, I learn something new every time.
I think we got the images we need for the photo of me, Maria and Frieda for the "Second Chance" book. But I think I need to pay George more than $35. I hear people grouse about their lives all the time – they complain about the Internet, the price of gas, their tax bills. I have never heard George utter a world of complaint about the collapse of photography as an art, the trove of fabulous photographs he took that are sitting in galleries in New York, the very hard work he does to care for himself, his stepbrother, to maintain his art gallery. He is an inspiration to me in more ways than he knows. I hope his dream of encountering alien life is fulfilled. Every day he takes his photos in the old way, he works in his cave-like dark room, he lives his life in grace with his partner, the artist Donna Wynbrandt. How lucky I am to have found him here in my little town, and to have him do the first portrait of me and Maria (and Frieda, the loving Helldog.)
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