This June marks a big transition for me. For the last six years I have volunteered my time with the Beacon Arts & Education Foundation which supports extra programming in the Beacon City School District where my children attend school. I have had a leadership role with the foundation but also, an important role as witness. I brought my skills as a photographer to help raise money for one of the largest programs the foundation supports, the Calico Ball, a 10 week dance residency for all 3rd graders in the district. It has been a privilege to be able to watch and photograph students rehearse and perform during this program every year; they are so photogenic with their natural grace and poise. This year I give up my leadership role with the foundation as I have been elected to be a member of the Beacon City School Board. I will still be a part of the foundation and, lucky for me, I am still their official photographer. Here are some of my favorite photos from this year's Calico Ball and year's past.
The other day a funny thing happened to me. My husband had asked me to stop by a model apartment in midtown Manhattan to take some photos of his furniture and I went, not realizing that the apartment I was going to was the only finished one in the building. I can't give the address here but, suffice it to say, it was pretty fancy. When I got there I was ushered by many doormen into a rickety elevator that squeaked and shuddered as we traveled up to the 38th floor. Once there, the doorman opened another door, motioned for me to enter and told me to call him when I wanted to get picked up. He closed the door and left without ceremony. I looked around to get my bearings. This place was in stark contrast to the construction site that surrounded it. I didn't know where the furniture was that I was supposed to shoot so I began to wander through this maze of an apartment looking for my subject. The apartment was fully furnished and had a lot of really expensive looking artwork. At one point, I noticed a foot, covered with a blue surgical bootie, partially sticking out from behind a door. At first I thought it was part of the art collection but realized it didn't quite fit with the aesthetic. I cautiously called out, 'hello' and a man dressed in a security guard uniform stepped out from behind the door and greeted me. He introduced himself as Rayvonne. Rayvonne and I talked about the strangeness of his job and how incredibly bored he was sitting on the 38th floor all day everyday where no one, except the house cleaner, ever came. It was a really weird existence and I felt for Rayvonne. There are very few people who could make good use of this time. Rayvonne said he read a lot and looked out of the window (it was a pretty good view). We joked that the places that we lived in were not so different from this place. I sat with him for a bit and took his photo.
I recently had the opportunity to photograph Josh Vogel in his kitchen in upstate New York for the Wall Street Journal. Here's a talented guy with a deep respect and love for his materials whether edible or not. His work is lovely as are his family and his home. And the tapioca...delish!!
Here's the recipe: 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca
1/2 cup maple sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
2 eggs, separated
ground cinnamon and nutmeg for sprinkling
1. Soak tapioca pearls in 1 cup water in a small saucepan until pearls absorb water, 30 minutes. Any remaining liquid should be kept in pan and cooked with tapioca.
2. Add sugar, salt, milk and vanilla seeds and pod to tapioca in saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until tapioca is translucent and mixture has begun to thicken, about 10 minutes. Discard Vanilla pod and whisk in yolks. Use an electric mixer to beat egg whites until they form soft peaks.
3. Temper egg whites by folding in 1/3 of the warm pudding. Return pan to stove over low heat and fold tempered whites into pudding, mixing just enough to incorporate. Pour pudding into ramekins, top with cinnamon and grated nutmeg. Chill in refrigerator 30 minutes. Tapioca is best eaten the same day but can be made up to 2 days in advance.