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Word Gets Around

A Life Of Its Own

I had begun printing with the dye transfer process in 1978 and had my first exhibit in 1983. Word did get around and New England Monthly published a feature story called (naturally) “Pike Pics” which coincided with Bose agreeing for me to work half time. It was also time to move. Waste disposal regulations made it illegal to continue printing at my home in Southborough. So it was time to find a new space or close up shop.

The waste issue was very minor but nevertheless it meant going to a place with sewer systems and space for a lab. This meant Worcester. We lucked out.

One of the many old factory buildings (this a wire factory), 12 foot eilings, brick walls, undergoing rennovation.

I saw one space and was not impressed and looked at a second. High ceilings being covered with dropped white ceiling tiles, solid maple floors being covered with plywood. I simply told the landlord to stop and asked the price and called in my own carpentors. We repaired the maple where necessary and started installing poured vinyl floors in the darkroom while simultaeously realizing we had a great gallery. We installed lighting fixtures and had a bit of a showplace. So for nine years we had a delightful space within which to make dye tranfer prints with the help of my dear friend, Michael Conrad (who could do anything) and his sister Rose who kept the books. My wonderful New York agent, Yancey Richardson spread the word far and wide and we were selling to the four corners of the U.S, and many places inbetween. These were the glory days.

In 1987 I received an assignment from “New England Monthly Magazine” to photograph a small stream in Littleton, Massachusetts for a full year. This was to illustrate a story by the head of the Massachusetts Audobon Society, John Hanson Mitchell.

John had written a book about an area around the stream (known as Beaver Brook) called Ceremonial Time that along with several other of his books has become a classic. And I headed for the brook at sunrise whenever I could, a 45 minute drive and began exploring.

One afternoon I asked Mike to help police direct traffic while I photographed the brook on an access road to Interstate 495, the outer loop road around Boston. As we were leaving just having turned onto 495 Mike exclaimed “Did you see that?” I looked to the right and saw this beautiful small stream passing under the interstate with a little concrete bridge you would not even notice when driving by.

I returned the next morning and was disappointed to find several power lines in the distance. This was before Photoshop and seemed to rule out any serious images, but I returned the next morning and the next and on one of my visits there was a great fog that almostly completely hid the power lines. For the one time in all my photographing I put on my 75 mm Schneider Super Angulon wide angle lens and went to work. Dreamed Brook became the best selling image in my collection, commanding $9,000 for a 32" x 40" dye tranfer print that went into a penthouse on Central Park South. I returned every year for the following ten years and Beaver Brook never looked this way again. The purple flower is loosestrife, an invasive weed that has since been almost completely exterminated. I have since printed a version without the fog and with the powerlines removed by Photoshop.

Below: Dreamed Brook, Interstate 495, Littleton, Massachusetts, July 22, 1987.

Dreamed Brook
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