American Bedroom - Eastport, Maine

The Incredible Journey - I have had many journeys during my life and for American Bedroom, but this particular trip was pure magic.  I come away from it telling myself to 'Expect the unexpected.'  The beauty of the place was outmatched by the beauty and generosity of the people I met. I feel very honored to have experiences like this. It elevates the soul and rejuvenates the heart.

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My adventure began with an email from Kim and Dan who live in a tent with their 3 dogs way up in Perry, Maine, almost in Canada.  Even though it's four hours north I was quick to say yes and scheduled a date. They were as I expected them, kind and gentle folks who are taking charge of their existence and living the life they want.

 It took some time to figure out how we could get the two of them and all three dogs in one shot. It was also challenging for me because their tent roof is covered with insulation for the Winter which cut down most of the ambient light. I decided I would come back at dawn and try to get something completley different utilizing daylight. 

It took some time to figure out how we could get the two of them and all three dogs in one shot. It was also challenging for me because their tent roof is covered with insulation for the Winter which cut down most of the ambient light. I decided I would come back at dawn and try to get something completley different utilizing daylight. 

Next stop - Kim and Dan took me to The Rosebud Lounge - ( no further explanation needed)  The people here were so friendly and welcoming! After I was introduced to everyone one woman - MJ got on her phone and started calling people around town to see if they would be open to having their photo taken....in their bedroom! To my dismay people were saying yes....and suddenly I had a producer!! She took my prototype American Bedroom book and off we went. 

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MJ was so excited to take me to meet people. She also had me on a tight schedule and kept saying...'We gotta move on, we're losing light!"   I told her they pay people big bucks to do what was coming to her naturally.  She keep saying...'This is an amazingly fun day!"

Our first stop was with Suzanne and Sandy - who happened to be relaxing in their bed with their two little dogs. They were both retired teachers. I told Suzanne as I was leaving that I was impressed with how willing and open they both were and she took my arm and pulled me close and said 'If you are not open then you are missing out!' 

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Next stop was John - an antique dealer. His house was so full of antiques I asked him if it was also his store and he said 'Nope, just my house.'

 Besides photographing John in his bedroom I could not pass up a portrait opportunity!

Besides photographing John in his bedroom I could not pass up a portrait opportunity!

Next we went to April and Bill's home on the water with a spectacular view. They had just gotten home from a trip and were still unpacking. They agreed to see me..not sure if they would participate or not. Bill was very sweet and reminded me of a gentle neighbor I once knew. April was a delight and told me to wander around the house. I was taking in the view and then saw her off to my right in another room. I walked over telling her how beautiful her home was and found her weeping. She said she was alright and finally told me she had just buried her Mom in Tennessee.   While looking at my book  she read what Pepere said about losing his wife and it touched her deeply. I gave her a hug and said these tears honored her Mom - I  asked her if I could get my camera and she agreed. This is one of those times when as a photographer you just better have your act together - you only get a few shots.  I did manage to get a beautiful image and the two of us formed an unusual bond in those unguarded moments of grace. 

 April ' I miss my Mommy.'

April ' I miss my Mommy.'

Next we visited Carolee and her little dog Bear - She also had a water front property with gorgeous views. She did not want her face to be in the photo but suggested she would be ok with her back.  As she sleeps in the nude and wanted authenticity we wrapped her up to the waist and then her little dog Bear jumped in.

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We came to the end of the day and the kind folks at the Rosebud had heard that my Airbnb had been canceled ( they are not even open for the season yet - snafu) So, the lovely Kari took it upon herself to find a beautiful place for me to stay right in the center of downtown Eastport with a magnificent view. 

 5:15 am 

5:15 am 

Luckily a little diner right next door had coffee at 5:30 am...and off I went back to Kim and Dan's.

 Not however without a few stops along the way.

Not however without a few stops along the way.

Back at Kim and Dan's we tried a couple different scenarios  - I wanted to photograph the types of things they would do - so sitting by the wood stove with the dogs...and cooking breakfast.

And, since Kim just had a birthday and she is unabashed about nudity AND she is a Goddess we did a few nudes.

  I can only think Gauguin!

 I can only think Gauguin!

 'We escaped to nature to invest in a life we don't have to take a vacation from. The American Dream is what we make it, and for us it starts in a tent. In our small space there is no room or need for inhibitions, nudity is my expression of freedom.'

'We escaped to nature to invest in a life we don't have to take a vacation from. The American Dream is what we make it, and for us it starts in a tent. In our small space there is no room or need for inhibitions, nudity is my expression of freedom.'

 After a non stop 24 hours in Eastport I headed home for the four hour drive wondering what I may have done in this lifetime to deserved the grace bestowed upon me by these kind and giving souls.  As I left the sweet Kari said 'Welcome to the family.' 

The Opening of the MMPA Exhibit Feb 15th

Thank you all who came from near and far and for your friendship and support.

  The show is a combination of selections from Hometown and a sneak peek from American Bedroom

The show is a combination of selections from Hometown and a sneak peek from American Bedroom

Sweet Belle and dear friend Sylvia.

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Eric Luden of Digital Silver Imaging inspects his fine work - He printed the 60 x 40 prints from American Bedroom. Thank you Eric, the prints are gorgeous.

Arthur was roommates with 'Jessica' (above) when I photographed her. I will be photographing Arthur with his partner soon.

  Little Miss Avey has her eyes on things... never travels without her Unicorn Sleep mask.

Little Miss Avey has her eyes on things... never travels without her Unicorn Sleep mask.

Rean and Josh can hardly get over being in such a big print! Thanks for being part of the project and for revealing such an honest slice of American life! You're image was one of my first and is consistently requested for publication. 

Such great friends Barry and Sylvia who drove far to be at the show.  They stayed at my zany 'Peacock Inn.' 

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I'm not one to take photos of the homeless but when I met China in Manhattan I wanted to tell her story.  We talked for nearly a half hour about her life and she agreed to be in the project. She wanted to be reading since it is her new found love. I was mesmerized by her and her story - then I was haunted by her for months afterward - worried and sad for her. I am still hoping she will return one of my emails one day. A friend on Instagram saw her in NY and asked me what she could bring her - I said the normal things and some books. 

It's funny to be at a show like this with such big prints. When it's time to take a photo of someone or with someone they pic their favorite image. Pepere seems to be the favorite by many. Here fellow photographer Uday wanted to be by his favorite image. Thanks for traveling all the way from Washington DC  to Boston and then to the show!

 

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 Celebrity at my show!   Lead singer of Lamb of God - Randy Blythe. He is an avid photographer and Leica user.   

Celebrity at my show!   Lead singer of Lamb of God - Randy Blythe. He is an avid photographer and Leica user.

 

My lovely neighbor Eva on my right, a patron of the arts, purchased the first print from the collection of American Bedroom. These two middle ladies, Nancy and Sylvia are special forever friends. ( bonded with when we all went to Cuba for a workshop with Ernesto Bazan...only missing is my son Landon. )

After party is complete with delicious food by Tom, who made a double crusted Chick Pot Pie.  It was a wonderful evening but only so because of all of you! 

 

 

American Bedroom - Atlanta - The influence of painting

I thought to do a trip to Atlanta since the flights were low and my sister was going for the gift show so i could stay with her.  Off to Atlanta I went. 

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 Paintings have been a huge inspiration for me for this project. I love the classic but i am also really inspired by contemporary figurative painting. I build a fresh folder of these paintings for each trip. On this particular trip I shared the paintings with my subjects and asked them to identify the ones they liked. We used them as a starting point. 

Paintings have been a huge inspiration for me for this project. I love the classic but i am also really inspired by contemporary figurative painting. I build a fresh folder of these paintings for each trip. On this particular trip I shared the paintings with my subjects and asked them to identify the ones they liked. We used them as a starting point. 

Here below are a few examples of how an idea sprang from a painting. 

Snaps

Detroit - Broken Beauty

Detroit city was my first journey using funds from my Getty Editorial Grant. I choose Detroit for a few reasons;  I had never been there, I had long been reading about its demise juxtaposed against its creative rebuilding, it is fairly close for me ( 1.5 hr flight), relatively inexpensive and I was incredibly intrigued. 

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What I found was incredible broken and unbroken beauty and people with a lot of heart. Some living in third world conditions but still full of hope for the future and with dreams on the tip of their tongues. People are truly creative in the way they live as well as artits in vibrant art scene. 

 Keto- I met Keto while he was painting a wall in the house of one of my subjects. I saw him later walking down a street and he invited me to his home to take his photo. He lives in a house called The Gingerbread House - It has no heat - We took the black shades off his window and his beautiful art work was revealed. "'It's been hard. My brother killed himself and my father has been missing for four years. I do art becasue it keeps me sane."

Keto- I met Keto while he was painting a wall in the house of one of my subjects. I saw him later walking down a street and he invited me to his home to take his photo. He lives in a house called The Gingerbread House - It has no heat - We took the black shades off his window and his beautiful art work was revealed. "'It's been hard. My brother killed himself and my father has been missing for four years. I do art becasue it keeps me sane."

Little late blog... My trip to Perpignan, France

I'm a bad blogger, but I must get better...here's one with lots of photos!

In case you haven't heard...I won a Getty Editorial Grant - and the presentation was in Perpignan France....so that was really too bad!  My good friend Anne Marie came along and it was a perfectly beautiful time of year.

The ceremony was at night in a huge outdoor arena. Yes, I put a dress on...omg!

 At a Luncheon given by Getty - The 2017 Getty Grant Winners - Antonio Faccilongo - Rome, Paula Bronstein, Bangkok, Alessandro Penso, Rome....and me with obvious jet lag...) 

At a Luncheon given by Getty - The 2017 Getty Grant Winners - Antonio Faccilongo - Rome, Paula Bronstein, Bangkok, Alessandro Penso, Rome....and me with obvious jet lag...) 

Saw some incredible imagery, drank lots of coffee, ate some amazing meals, met some cute dogs...

Then back to Barcelona for a couple days.... (fyi, much much cheaper to fly into Barcelona )

 I could live here.....

I could live here.....

got a couple shots....

It was a great trip and now back to work!!

American Bedroom - Whole lotta Love in Westbrook

One of the things I find so fascinating about this project is that each experience is so completely different.  Not disimilar to opening a mysterious gift. 

 

Each scene unravels with the newnest of the people, the place and the light. Often I do a location scout and check the light. That is what I was doing this day although that changed when I walked in the door and saw the whole family, bathed in morning light, sitting on the couch plaing video games and watching TV.  I said, ' Mary, I think I'd like to just shoot.' She was very genrous and said that was fine. 

 Sunday morning.

Sunday morning.

I heard there was a turtle in the bathroom...

...and hampsters

and a few cats...

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 ...and a dog.....

...and a dog.....

The girls showed me their room and then wanted to braid their Mom's hair. I began to notice how very sweet the girls were and how much love they have for their Mom.

 Meanwhile Jr was anxious to show me his room which was in the livingroom closet.

Meanwhile Jr was anxious to show me his room which was in the livingroom closet.

Next stop was Mom's bedroom where everyone just plunked right in. The kids just showered Mom with hugs and kisses...and everyone wanted her for their own. I was touched by how affectionate they all were and clearly how much the kids adore her.

The kids all collect Magic cards and they were very excited to show me their favorites!

 

 It wasn't too long before boyhood took over.

It wasn't too long before boyhood took over.

It all ended back at the TV.

Ya, just a smidge of danger with this one!!

 Parting shots. They had fun and want me to come back!

Parting shots. They had fun and want me to come back!

See you all soon!!

The Girls Upstairs model a Plumnyc Tutu

I went upstairs to hang out with the girls and brought up a tutu from Plumnyc. Each girl was excited to try it on and do their thing. Avey was up first. 

 Break for a little downward dog....

Break for a little downward dog....

 Tutu did not last long...Sox are from our ZubiKids shoot.

Tutu did not last long...Sox are from our ZubiKids shoot.

 Important to be fashionable, even with a bruise on the cheek.

Important to be fashionable, even with a bruise on the cheek.

 Belle did lots of fun and funny things but then she gave me this!   

Belle did lots of fun and funny things but then she gave me this!

 

 Another day down in my apartment - Miss Belle-erina!!

Another day down in my apartment - Miss Belle-erina!!

 Between all the sillyness, Belle always gives me beautiful gesture. Everytime. 

Between all the sillyness, Belle always gives me beautiful gesture. Everytime. 

The best things are always unplanned - Belle went for a drink of water....

 That tuned into a little  'watering the plants' shoot.

That tuned into a little  'watering the plants' shoot.

Only Belle and I know how much water spilled all over. We'll never tell.

 And then Stryder came to see what was up....Thank you Stryder!

And then Stryder came to see what was up....Thank you Stryder!

And that's a wrap! Until next time, I hear we may be getting some more tutus from PLUMnyc!

ZubiiKids

Fun shoot for ZubiiKids - lot of shoes, sox and cute models!

 Every girl loves Pink!!

Every girl loves Pink!!

Belle and Rhys just chillin out!

 Elegant Butterfly sox

Elegant Butterfly sox

 Vienna knows how to put it together!!

Vienna knows how to put it together!!

 These gray shoes were all the girls favorites!!!

These gray shoes were all the girls favorites!!!

Thank you to all my fabulous models!! Belle, Rhys, Dahlia and Vienna!!

 Kids love these shoes and sox by ZubiiKids and you can see why!

Kids love these shoes and sox by ZubiiKids and you can see why!