Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A winter day

It's treacherous in Warwick, wise that is. There is a nasty ice storm in progress which began last night, and doesn't show any signs of letting up. I am marooned inside my house for the day, and happily so, for it looks bleak and uninviting outside. The world outside my door has turned into a giant ice-rink for which I have no skates, and certainly no balance for. So I gaze upon this grey winter scape from my studio window, watching an increasing amount of ice build itself upon the branches of trees, and ice crystals form like a blanket across the lawn. An ice storm is something to behold. It can be a majestic sight when there are blue skies, and sun to transform the ice into dazzling jewels. But as I discovered last year, it is much more dangerous than a heavy snow storm. It can reek havoc, bringing down utility cables, and giant tree limbs, the weight of the ice too much to hold. Already this morning I have witnessed such an's not a pretty sight. The poor lilac trees are bowing under the weight, and look like they could snap at any moment. The pear tree looks under a similar strain. I heard on the radio this morning that great swathes of trees have come down upstate, in Syracuse. It puts me in mind of the hurricane we experienced in the south of England in October 1987. Everywhere you went trees were laid down across the roads, once densely wooded areas thinned out to unrecognisable states. Such is mother nature, I suppose, she will do as she wants. I understand from the UK news that Britain has also been feeling on the chilly side after being hit with some of the coldest weather in a couple of decades. I came across these images on the Guardian Newspaper website (always a great source of information, and cultural interest).

Snow blankets fields in Kuttlehume, Cheshire, UK

Livestock Shelter From The Snow, Sittingbourne, Kent, UK

This particular image reminds me greatly of Paul Caponigro's wonderful image 'Running White Deer', something to do with the same framing, and backdrop of trees. Caponigro, a student of the great Minor White, is a photographer of great beauty, and eloquence. His muse is the landscape, mainly the New England landscape, but also that of Ireland, and Britain too. When you spend time with his work you begin to sense more than just the landscape itself but something spiritual, or mystical. You feel his connection with what he is photographing. Most recently he has been making still lifes, which also radiate this luminescence I see in his other work. I am intrigued by his studies of water and ice, and as they seem pertinent to my thoughts of winterness today I thought I would add these for you to look at.

Running White Deer, Wicklow, Ireland, 1967

 Frosted Window, Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1961

  River Ice, Newton, Massachusetts, 1960

Leaf in Ice, Nahant, Massachusetts, 1958

I have met Paul Caponigro. It was during my time at the Maine Photographic Workshops, or more specifically, Rockport College. I had been fortunate enough to have my image chosen to grace the front of the invitation postcards for the end of semester exhibition (along with Arduina Palanca, who coincidently is now married to Caponigro's son, John Paul). One day as I was leaving the offices of the school, a man sitting on the steps by the entrance who I'd seen around but didn't know, told me how much he liked my image. Not knowing who this man was, I quickly thanked him and went on my way. I later discovered that it was none other than the master himself, Paul Caponigro. A missed opportunity if ever there was one.

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