REAP Street Pop Up Arts Fest, September 21, 3 – 7 PM on Broad Street (the main drag opposite the town green) in historic Windsor, CT.  Impromptu galleries in vacant storefronts featuring the work of more than 50 artists.  Artwork will be auctioned off for charitable causes (my auction benefits the Community Renewal Team).   Also live comedy, music and street performers.  I will be exhibiting with Jana Ireijo, Adam Viens, Alexia Lalande, and Long Tu at 290 Broad Street as part of RATE IV.  For more info see

Just got back from 11 nights in Scotland, Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye, hillwalking and history with my wife and two teenage sons.  Weather was good – only two days of rain and the midges chased us off the path only once.  Almost 18 hours of sunlight each day while on the Inner Hebrides, not including twilight – not sure it ever really got dark.  Rented a flat in Edinburgh with views of the Museum on the Mound, Forth of Firth and distant hills of Fife.  The flat was in the Blackie House, a six-story tenement house from 1690, which retained much of its original character (in a good way).  Rented another flat on the Isle of Skye in Portree directly overlooking a working harbor, comparatively new construction… from the 1830’s.  Did the usual touristy things, Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat, galleries & museums, Scottish Parliament Building, Royal Botanic Garden, Loch Ness, Glencoe, Eilean Donan Castle, Trotternish Peninsula, Talisker Distillery and much, much more.  Became enamored of McVities Digestives Caramels, Marks and Spencer groceries and a wee dram of the uisge beatha (water of life) every so often (emphasis on often).

Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh. Gravestones lean against the east wall and the surrounding 18th & 19th century buildings, now apartments. This is the graveyard home to Greyfriars Bobby, the Skye Terrier, who is said to have guarded his master’s grave for 14 years – until he too died, in 1871. Not only is this cemetery old (16th century), it is haunted (of course) and during the early days of photography the Kirkyard was used by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson as a setting for portraits and tableaux such as The Artist and The Gravedigger.

The Camera Obscura & World of Illusions in Edinburgh. Visited here in 1990, before the three lower floors of kid-friendly “science” and “illusions.” The “Outlook Tower” dates to the 1850’s and was known as "Short's Observatory, Museum of Science and Art” in the 19th century. Yup, there’s a camera obscura at the top, which uses mirrors to project 360 degree views of Edinburgh. Here’s a view of rooftops from the tower.

My boys at the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. On one of the lower floors you find the Ames Room, named after Adelbert Ames who originally created it in 1930. It has slanted floors, walls and ceilings and is painted so as to make the person on the left look small and the person on the right look tall. No photoshop here!

I saw numerous hotel doormen wearing kilts. The curbside busker bagpipers wore kilts. I saw an airport employee in a kilt and a Day-Glo vest. I saw this kilted fellow climbing Calton Hill in Edinburgh carrying a white parasol and high heels. At first I wondered if this was how the metrosexual Scots accessorizes tartan in the 21st century. Turned out he was in his formal wear getting his picture took. The parasol and heels belonged to a woman – just out of sight – wearing a wedding dress.

Skye is the largest and most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides off the western coast of Scotland. It is about 25 miles wide and 50 miles long and has a jagged 400-mile coastline. The major industries are tourism (mainly backpacking and hiking), fishing, whisky distilling and “crofting” – tenant farming. Much of the road around the Trotternish Peninsula is “one track” and at first we pulled to the side as soon as we saw an oncoming vehicle. Later, as one gets used to one lane roads… well, have you ever played chicken?

The footpath on Quiraing (a hill?), on the Isle of Skye’s Trotternish Peninsula. A breathtaking hillwalk that’s for sure, 1,781 feet high – about 3+ hours for the loop – spectacular views of the Cuillin Range and distant ocean.

Haggis, black pudding and sheep everywhere. Not just on the menu. Many a trail wove betwixt the sheep. The sheep grazed on the very edge of mountain crags and dozed atop rock pinnacles. It’s hard to believe they don’t regularly get blown off. And as a hiker, you had to be extra careful maneuvering the trail. One had to step around the haggis to avoid slipping off the side of the mountain.

Drizzle and mist and midges today on the Isle of Skye. On average, the island gets annually approximately 53 inches of rain. Which may explain why no one lives here. It is indeed sparsely populated: resident numbers declined from over 20,000 in the early 19th century to just under 9,000 by the closing decade of the 20th century.

Duntulm Castle (what’s left of it) at the tip of the Trotternish Peninsula (Isle of Skye). The castle was built in the 14th and 15th centuries and occupied by the clan MacDonald until about 1732. According to local legend, “the castle was abandoned after the infant son of the chieftain who dwelt there at the time, in the charge of a nursemaid, fell from a window and was dashed on the rocks below. As a punishment, the nursemaid was set adrift on the North Atlantic in a small boat.“

Most photographers know the story of Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies and how they began – to answer the question “does a horse have all four hoofs off the ground during a gallop?”  Artist Emma Kisiel has developed a very interesting and well-organized blog named for the father of the freeze frame –  The blog features artists “who are interested in the ways in which humans interact with and experience animals and nature.”  As part of that blog she has an artist index with links to artist websites.  She featured my work this month (  Ms. Kisiel now lives in Kansas and saw a photo of mine in SHOTS magazine (no 119, Spring 2013).  She had an image in this issue also – the theme for no. 119 was “Creatures”  and the magazine is chock full of unconventional photos of the animal kingdom and includes an interview with Roger Ballen –

SHOTS magazine - a journal of fine art photography - no. 119 "Creatures"

A couple weeks ago I attended the 50th SPE (Society for Photographic Education) conference in Chicago. My old friend from Bennington College, Jeff Curto, was the chair of the event, which was sold out – some 1,600 attendees. Many attendees stayed at the Palmer House, a grand, historic landmark hotel (1871), with its famous Empire Room, a 250-seat venue (supper club) where just about every luminary performed before it closed in the mid-1970s. SPE had its own luminaries. I caught presentations by Mona Kuhn, Olivia Parker, Zwelethu Mthethwa and Richard Misrach. Five days after SPE I looked out my window and thought of Richard Misrach’s series On The Beach and made this photo (and many others like it). No, I was not in Hawaii. But I was on vacation, far from cold Chicago and my own still snowy landscape in CT. And every time I stood on my balcony and looked down on the beach, I thought of Richard Misrach.

The show is called “A Touch of the Absurd.” What could be more fitting? It’s at the Krause Gallery, Moses Brown School, 250 Lloyd Avenue, Providence, RI – January 7 – February 1. Moses Brown is around the corner from Brown University, one of the oldest prep schools in the US (a Quaker school). The gallery is open 8-4, Monday – Friday. There is an opening reception January 11, 5-7 PM.

If you are in West Virginia, check out the play.

“If/Then” is a four-person show with work by Nate Larson, Daniel Mosher Long, Althea Murphy-Price and Barb Smith in the Rueff Gallery at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, August 27 – September 14, 2012.

We are back from Italia, Roma & Orvieto.  Yes, it was hot and crowded – it is July.   But one travels when one can, even in the heat of summer.  We thought about going to Reykjavik where it would be cool, but heard the pasta was nothing special.   I think we paid homage to all of Rome’s major cultural treasures, from the ancient to the Baroque.   We walked for hours each day, usually returning to our room quite damp and too late for siesta.  My favorite things: carpaccio, arugula and shaved parmesan; cheap, good wine; the infinitely weird ossuary of the Capuchin monks (4,000 skeletal remains artfully arranged); the cool and quiet cathedrals (Santa Maria del Popolo with two Caravaggios, the Church of the Gesu with its curious ceiling fresco, to name two – not all the cathedrals were cool, some were downright steamy); the AC in our rooms at Babuino 181 and Locanda del Sole; the Borghese Gallery with timed admission and Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne; Sinorelli’s sci-fi “The Damned” fresco in the Orvieto Duomo; Orvieto Sunday afternoon during siesta (when we were almost alone on the streets) and wandering the alleyways of Orvieto after dark.

Memento Mori at Santa Maria del Popolo (c. 1470)

Constantine’s colossal head at the Musei Capitolini

Rome - lovely light and vernacular architecture

Crowds at the Vatican Museum

Restoration work on Saint Peter’s Colonnade

Tidying up at the Pantheon

Becky on the Pantheon steps

Bernini’s odd Pulcino della Minerva (the elephant has an Egyptian obelisk on his back)

Gaulli’s illusionistic fresco from the Church of the Gesu (c. 1550)

Wedding photographers in Trastevere

Orvieto after dark (Orvieto is an Etruscan-Medieval town atop an impressive volcanic tuff an hour north of Rome)