I serve on one board, in my town that is…. I am so fortunate to volunteer for other organizations, too! It is important to give back to your community — to open your heart, especially to area youth who need our help, especially in this day and age when the world must seem large indeed.
When I was a kid, running around unsupervised (for the most part!) in Providence, Rhode Island, my mother was always ‘trying’ to reign me in. I remember coming home from school one day, with my friend, Janie Perrotta, and I announced I was going to “hear Jimi Hendrix at Rhode Island Auditorium!” My mother, vacuuming like she always seemed to be, looked up and pulled her kerchief out of her eyes, and said, “Have a nice time, dear,”
I was eleven.
When I was twelve, I announced I had run through the bus tunnel, barefoot. That got their attention, for it was known that if two busses came in opposite directions and you were where you shouldn’t be, there was no egress, no way out, but pressed flat against the wall as the busses flew by, almost grazing you.
Fast forward…. They would NOT let me go to Woodstock, but I went to Jimi Hendrix the same year, and then unexpectedly, I broke my leg in a bad skiing accident, and I was thirteen and in a cast for months…. My father had an old Argus camera. He had a good eye, and he showed me how to use it. Bob C., as most people called him, was a patient Dad when it came to explaining something he was passionate about. He’d get all “pontificating,” and puffed up, and proudly show you things… The march at Great Salt Pond at dusk, the shark fin at Willow Dell, the steepest ski trail at Waterville, the art of painting from the Matunuck School to contemporary painters like Vermont’s own Wolf Kahn… He would discuss these things with passion, but they were his passions, not mine.
When it came to photography, we were equals. None of his five daughters had any interest in photography, except me. I took that camera, and joined the camera club in high school. I shot and developed my own negatives, and even printed in the darkroom; learning dodging and burning techniques, always careful to keep the film in the canister from being exposed.
I shot things as a teen, that made me think, contemplate, absorb, explore, and the whole process was one of great joy (to quote an art teacher I was influenced by later in life, Ric Campman).
I went on to teach photography to teens for my student etching practices at the American School in Vienna. I learned German, and while I was in Europe for a year, my camera was always with me. Now, I share photos with my friends and family, but those early photos I took when I was a teen are the real gems in my life.
I joined the board of the In-Sight Photography Project in Brattleboro about seven years ago. It has been so cool to watch the teens blossom as photographers; watch the local,kids in Brattleboro who might be hanging out in the Harmony Lot after school and possibly getting into trouble with drugs, get involved in our teen photography non-profit. They don’t even have to pay if money is a problem. The classes involve shooting, group activities, darkroom and/or digital skills. I am proud to attach a video of our summer program we offer with the Exposures Program, where we send teens from inner cities, from rural Vermont, from two reservations, to the Pine Ridge Reservation for the experience of a lifetime. Many of our kids have never been outside of Brattleboro, Vermont, or Chicago…. They connect across cultures, and it is inspiring that I can help promote an organization that brings so much joy, that changes lives, that encourages a dialogue of communication, while serving youth in our suit if art and freedoms of expression.
Please join me, in supporting our upcoming summer Exposures Program!