September, 2010 Archives

I have not posted any still life in a while.  These images date from as long ago as June and as recent as last week (Buddha in Water).  Essentially, they are works in progress…

I must admit I was thinking about the phrase “smile for the birdie” when I made this image (perhaps a one-liner). The Imperial Debonair… Now that’s a sexy camera. A long-gone relative made the lace. Willa Cat left us the bird.

This colorful caterpillar should turn into a tussock moth. I’m not sure how old the flash bulb is – I’d guess it dates from the 60’s or 50’s, but it could be older. The spiky caterpillar made me think of the flash bulb filaments. The background pattern is from a crystal bowl. A wedding present from long ago.

I think this is a shrew – not sure. Another gift from Willa Cat. In the spring she was very active. You had to look down when you stepped out the door in the morning to avoid the carcasses. The iris is from my garden. The abalone has been on the shelf collecting dust for… decades. I just could not leave the idea of a shrew on a shell alone. Hope it’s not a mole… that would ruin everything. A mole on a mollusk just doesn’t work for me…

I bought the primitive Buddha at Brimfield a few years back. The flower is from a big “Rose of Sharon” – a plant from either Syria or Korea. Rose of Sharon is also the name of a character in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath. The Buddha and flowers are half-submerged (rotting & translucent) in a wheelbarrow of water.

The background is a rather unique Daguerreotype case inlaid with shell. I found the barnacle-encrusted bone on a beach in Nova Scotia. I dug the 1824 penny out of the ground when I was 13 or 14. I love patina.

I found this snake in the back yard. It was well past its prime. I think it had an unfortunate encounter with the lawnmower. I liked the way it looked and put it in a baggie and into the freezer for later use. The “treasure trove” came from a Maxwell House coffee can of jewelry fittings rescued by my brother from a land fill in NH. The gold reflection in the snake’s eye is real, but exaggerated. The thawed snake really stank when I made this image. This image was inspired by Tolkien’s dragon Smaug from the Hobbit.

The “album” in the background is the cover of a relative’s Victorian scrapbook. The alarm clock is Chinese and dates from the 1950’s. The day lily is from the garden. Other lilies were placed off camera to reflect in the clock. Day lilies last for a day, the scrapbook is full of memories and the clock – well, there’s not much mystery here.

The fall semester is in full swing.  As usual, I’m starting to learn about and appreciate my new batch of students while simultaneously waxing nostalgic about the students that have moved on.  The CT community college system has an “open door” policy which means that the door is open to everyone with a high school diploma or GED equivalency – no minimum SAT score, no minimum GPA.  Class rank?   Irrelevant.   Been out of school for 10, 20, 30, 40 years?  No problem.  Want to take just one class?  Climb on board.  But the open door swings both ways.  Students move on as easily as they move in.

Mark Loper and Paul Brodeur are two such students.  John Ferreira is another.   Loper and Brodeur joined forces spring semester (2010) to work collaboratively on something we dubbed the “LoBro Project.”   Loper and Brodeur were both photographers and models for this series of well-crafted, atmospheric, film noir stills (overpopulated by multiple Lopers and Brodeurs,  à la Anthony Goicolea).  Using multiple strobes and multiple exposures, they created seamless tableaux vivants that remind me of the David Lynch cult classic Twin Peaks.  Paul Brodeur, who lived independently and worked to finance his college career, graduated from MCC with an Associate’s Degree in Visual Fine Art (Photography Option) this spring and is currently attending Pratt in NYC.  He can be reached at  Mark Loper continues to tour as a guitarist for the band Light The City ( and has started a freelance business (  Contact Loper or Brodeur for a price list and to purchase prints.  John Ferreira is a first generation Portuguese-American who is now the owner of Ana’s Auto Detailing in the Bradley Airport area in Windsor Locks, CT.   Last fall (2009) he produced an exquisite portfolio of floral still lifes.  These simple yet elegant compositions lit by natural light are truly gorgeous in person, on the wall.  Ferreira makes 22” x 22” archival pigmented ink prints on Hahnemuhle William Turner textured paper with an Epson 7900.   You can contact John Ferreira for a price list and purchase information at  John, Mark and Paul are just three of the recent talented students that have moved on.  I gotta say to them, on record, thanks for visiting, it was great fun (stop by any time and bring pictures).