Photographing Tarik Currimbhoy’s Kinetic Sculpture

August 7, 2017 2 comments

I have had quite an adventure lately shooting my friend architect/sculptor Tarik Currimbhoy’s wonderful kinetic sculptures.  The works I have been photographing are tabletop size, sleek forms in stainless steel and bronze called Rockers.  The trick was to convey movement.  I shot some video, which will be on Tarik’s website http://www.tarikcurrimbhoy.com in due course.  The challenge was to photograph these elegant pieces, which are narrower at the top, in a way that would convey movement.  First I shot stills of the various versions:

But  Tarik needed photographs to use in print materials.  I experimented with various sorts of double and triple exposures, and I think I nailed it!

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An Update on the Art Creation Foundation for Children in Haiti

July 25, 2017 1 comment

The Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel, Haiti is alive and well!  We have had a number of substantial grants over the past year, which have paid for the rent on our building and our food program, but we are facing a shortfall this summer for general operating expenses and for educational expenses (school fees, books, uniforms, shoes, backpacks) for our children when the new school year begins in August. Any help you can give us will be greatly appreciated!

Here is a link to a new video that outlines our services and the children who are part of our program.  In it, you can see some of the work created by the children in Jacmel and understand exactly how the dollars you donate are used by ACFFC. I urge you to help us help our children achieve a better life in a difficult country. We are proud in the knowledge that we are helping these children learn the skills that can help them to change their lives.

In this blog I have written about some of the children I worked with in photography workshops.  Here is an update on three of our young adults:

Bruno Rene has moved on to a position as art instructor on the staff of ACFFC. He recently took part in a countrywide painting competition for Sogebank where he rose up through the ranks.  He was a finalist to represent South East Haiti, one of three.  He then traveled to Port Au Prince to compete with artists from around the country, and ultimately won an honorable mention and an award of 75000 HTG (about $1200 US).  His work is currently for sale at a premier local art gallery in Jacmel where he has sold some of his larger pieces.

 

 

Michou Jouissant is now leader of the Mosaic Product Team – an important part of the ACFFC program. She is charged with team management, product development and quality control. A natural leader, she is the highest paid student intern and is performing work that will lead to jobs in the private sector in the future. The Haitian culture is very difficult for women with aspirations to move beyond service and caretaker roles. Michou has benefited from a special program within ACFFC devoted to the empowerment of our young women, giving them a voice and helping to build their confidence and self-esteem where they learn to speak up and take on leadership roles.

 

 

Fedno Lubin has two more years in high school, where he is a star student and has learned fluency in English. He is a part-time student intern at the foundation, and the official ACFFC photographer. He has created his own photography business and is in demand as a photographer of communions, weddings and baptisms in the Jacmel area, and has developed a line of postcards that he sells to hotels and tourists.

 

 

Please help us create more success stories! Donations can be made through our website or PayPal

Or they can be sent to:

Art Creation Foundation For Children

14113 Drakes’ Point Drive

Jacksonville, FL 32224

Every penny you donate will be used with care.  Thanking you in advance!

My Historical Archives Part II: FDR to National Park Service Resource Center

July 8, 2016 1 comment

Over a five-year period, I made thousands of photographs of sculptor Neil Estern creating the full-round statues of President Roosevelt, Eleanor and their dog Fala for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Park in Washington, DC. Dozens of the images were reproduced in the book Shaping A President: Sculpting for the Roosevelt Memorial, written by Kelli Peduzzi; and a large group of black & white darkroom prints and color photographs appeared in solo and group exhibits across the United States. (Many of these images are on my website.)

I followed Estern working on this historic project as he sculpted the tiny maquettes and larger scale models in clay in his Brooklyn studio, enlarged them in clay at Tallix Art Foundry in Beacon, NY, and supervised the many phases of bronze casting.   At each stage of creation, I was struck by the forceful personae emerging out of inert substances. Neil’s concentration was total. The figures, even in armature form, seemed to interact with him and appreciate his perfectionism.

I felt like a fly on the wall. I endeavored to illustrate the unfolding emotional relationship between the sculptor’s artistic intensity and the complex personalities of the President and First Lady emerging from armature and clay.

The Memorial Park was inaugurated in May 1997.

Last summer, I contacted various government archives to find a home for my archives. I was thrilled when they were accepted by the National Park Service. Their offices and storage facilities are located in Washington, CD and Maryland, where objects related to the monuments on the National Mall and Memorial Parks in this area of the country are preserved.  Here are the materials in my studio before I packed them up:

I still retain the copyright, however, and sets of exhibition prints.  My husband and I drove to Maryland earlier this year to deliver them to Curator Laura Anderson.

Archive Bldg

Me with Laura

The next day we were given a tour of the facility by Tom Sonderman, Director of the NCR Museum Resource Center,. It was fascinating.  Along with historical documents, there were objects left at the Vietnam Memorial by visitors, furniture from historic homes and all sorts of interesting ephemera.

I am honored that these historic materials – negatives, slides, darkroom notes, work prints, shooting diary, etc. are now part of this wonderful archive, where they are available to the public for research and exhibitions.  2017 will be the 20th anniversary of the monument park and there is talk of an exhibit.  Meanwhile, I am on to new projects!

My Historical Archives Part I: The Rafael Hernandez Colon Library and Museum

June 22, 2016 Leave a comment

In November 2015, my husband and I traveled to Ponce, Puerto Rico to visit the beautiful Rafael Hernandez Colon Library and Museum.  In Spanish, La Fundaciòn Biblioteca Rafael Hernández Colón (FBRHC).

RHC Library & Museum

RHC Library & Museum

 

From 1972-6 I worked for Governor Rafael Hernandez Colon of Puerto Rico. As his aide in the states, I accompanied him on his many trips to New York and Washington, and produced a variety of television programs for him in Puerto Rico, such as the first televised news conference and the first televised address to the nation. I carried my camera with me everyplace.

Hernandez Colon served as governor again from 1984-92. We remained in touch, but I was working elsewhere. This past year the Rafael Hernandez Colon Library and Museum was inaugurated in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It is a beautiful combination of two buildings; one a renovated colonial building and the other a new state of the art modern archive of the Governor’s papers and records. My negatives, slides, and campaign ephemera have been added to the collection.  I was so impressed by the design of the archives and thrilled to see my material included.

There is a beautiful, large exhibit area illustrating the governor’s life and accomplishments during his total of 12 years in office.   Several of my historic photographs have been printed and hung.  This column of my photographs depicts the arrival of world leaders for a summit conference in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico in 1976, greeted by Governor Hernandez Colon.

RHC_World Leaders

Photo credit

Here is Hernandez Colon talking about the museum to my husband and the Director of the Archive and Museum, Jorge Figueroa Irizzary:

RHC talking to Bob Peduzzi and Jorge Figueroa Irizarry

After touring the museum, we screened the two half-hour documentaries I produced in 1972 and 1976 for RHC’s gubernatorial campaigns.  It was the first time my husband had seen them!

During those exciting years I traveled all over the island, made many good friends and learned to love Puerto Rico and its people.

Heartening Reviews for Love & War!

September 10, 2015 Leave a comment

Although I edited my book, Love & War:  The World War II Letters of Arthur Smook primarily for my family, the story is really interesting, so I sent a press release to a number of people and publications.  I am thrilled to share two reviews with you:

The first appeared in the August 10, 2015 edition of the Register-Star Newspaper, written by Katie Kocijanski;  and the second in the on line publication of the New York Book Society, written by Catherine Kirkpatrick.  Both are really thoughtful discussions of the book and I am grateful for the care taken by the writers.

Here are a few more of the photographs in the book:

Dad_with_plane_9-5-45_webMy dad in postwar France

 My mom_ n her Red Cross Women's Motor Corps Uniform webMy mom in her Red Cross Women’s Motor Corps Uniform

January 8, 1946January 8, 1945

I Have Published a Book and it is on Amazon!!!

September 7, 2015 4 comments

Front cover for web

I am proud to announce that Love & War: the World War II Letters of Arthur Smook, which I edited is now available on Amazon in print and for Kindle. This has been a labor of love for me as I have edited 450 letters that my father wrote to my mother during World War II down to all or part of 150. There are also two wonderful letters that my mother wrote to her parents when she visited my dad in Paris, Texas, just before he was shipped to Europe.   Here is a link to the description on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-War-World-Letters-Arthur/dp/1508406502/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433355769&sr=1-1&keywords=diane+smook

Throughout our childhood, my brother Richard and I were aware that our mother saved all the letters that our father wrote to her during his service in the 395th Regiment of the 99th Infantry Division during World War II. Periodically, she considered throwing them away during a house cleaning, but the letters always remained in the box in the attic. If I mentioned wanting to read them, she was doubtful, saying that they were mostly love letters, repetitive, and not that interesting.

During dinnertime, Dad sometimes told us stories about the war – usually the same old yarns about taking a farmhouse and getting to sleep in a bed, or liberating a cow that was then slaughtered by one of his men who had been a farmer so that they all could have a meat dinner after weeks of rations. As a First Lieutenant who attended Officer Candidate School and trained troops in various camps in the American South before he was shipped overseas, my father was clearly devoted to the men under him. He fought on the front lines of the Battle of the Bulge and earned a Bronze Star and four Purple Hearts. Yet he never attended post-war 99th Division reunions, and never traveled to England, Belgium, Germany or France on vacations. As annoying baby boomers, my brother and I groaned at the stories and knew all the endings. Mostly, I quarreled with my dad about his overly strict rules that governed my teenage social life. My brother was disappointed that he and Dad never did the things that other boys and their dads did together, like going to ball games.

My dad died in 1984 from an aneurysm, at the age of 65. When my mother died at 74 in 1996, I retrieved the letters, but it was a couple of years before I put them in order and read them. When I read them in order I was stunned. They told a distinct story with a real arc.   They were written by an articulate, passionate man who was not the man with whom my brother and I battled.

In addition to detailing military life, these letters bring to life a true love story. They begin as Arthur writes to his buddy Sylvia when he is preparing to leave Cornell after final exams to travel to Camp Croft in South Carolina. My parents never dated at Cornell, but became friends when my mom dated a couple of his fraternity brothers. We follow their friendship as Dad is stationed at several army bases in the south and has a few home leaves in New York. Then, after one wonderful leave, they become engaged. The correspondence becomes passionate. He tries without success to convince Mom to marry him before he is shipped overseas, tells her over and over how much he loves her, and she does visit him in Paris, Texas. Sadly, only two of my mother’s letters survived. Both were written to her parents; one describes her trip to Texas by train, and the other describes her stay at the Gibraltar Hotel and what she observed about military life in Texas. They are gems. As an infantry soldier, Dad could not keep any of the letters Mom wrote to him when he was overseas. He was constantly on the move.

Both before and after shipping out to Europe, Dad writes about army life and his feelings about what he is doing. His letters portray pride in his promotion to First Lieutenant and his good grades in courses in tactics and hand to hand fighting; his eagerness to go overseas; his dislike of having to censor his men’s mail; courage and the lack of courage he observed; and how he copes with the horrors of war. He describes daily activities in the states, on the ship sailing to Europe, in foxholes, on maneuvers, on passes to Paris, in the hospital in the rear, and in running post-war prisoner of war stockades. The letters also reveal a great deal of his love for my mom, and his deep desire to be reunited.

As I now review the letters, I am struck by the parallels between his experiences and impressions, and those of the men and women returning from the wars in Southeast Asia and the Middle East during my own lifetime. I wonder about the scars that my dad carried home with him when Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was undefined; when soldiers returning from horrific experiences in battle were expected to slip right back into civilian life without missing a beat. Their abilities to do this, after fighting a war in which they believed, are the reason they are known as “the greatest generation.”

It’s a real page-turner!!

 

iPhone in the Snow

February 7, 2014 2 comments

We have had a snowy winter here in NYC.  It was messy underfoot on Monday, but beautiful above, so I took out my iPhone and began to capture what I saw:

Broadway and 95th Street

Broadway and 95th Street

On the way to the subway.

On the way to the subway.

Subway entrance on Broadway and 96th Street.

Subway entrance on Broadway and 96th Street.

View from The Ground Floor Pilates studio.

View from The Ground Floor Pilates studio.

Later, outside of CVS at 96th and Amsterdam Ave.

Later, outside of CVS at 96th and Amsterdam Ave.