Blacks Crossing Photography and Writing | musings over tea

musings over tea

January 15, 2018  •  2 Comments

Nothing like a nice, hot cup of tea to get the creative juices flowing on a winter's day. Today's blog is courtesy of two friends who influenced the work that I did this week and subsequent thoughts and musings over tea.

Victoria sent us a video link about a woman who is both a photographer and caretaker of the Oceanic Hotel on Star Island off the New England coast between New Hampshire and Maine.  I was taken aback by the starkness, loneliness, greyness and cold of the place, but my initial reaction was replaced by Alexandra de Steiguer's peace with being alone and content there.  She embraces the aloneness, and uses photography during the off season (winter) when tourists are not there, as her record. She works with film, shooting stills of her surroundings.  Although Steiguer has a broad palette (which must be monochromatic much of the time) and an enormous number of locations to shoot, she photographs what is around her.  The black and white photograph below of the California coastline and Monterey cypress that I shot years ago, reminds me of the film.

Monterey cypress black and whiteMonterey cypress black and white

Watch it on The Atlantic - The piece is titled "The Quiet Exuberance of Winter", and it is a stunning example of documentary filmmaking.  

Musing over tea this morning, I thought about the film, about her life of isolation during the off-season for 19 years, and others' lives as fire lookouts (including Edward Abbey), and photographers filming their own surroundings. Photographers and artists have always traveled miles to different places to capture history and fascinating locations, but many of the most memorable photographs were made by those who photographed the nearness.  Both present juicy material and frequently produce rich results.  

tea 2tea 2

tea 1tea 1

Further musings with a lovely cup of Darjeeling included the many photographs I had looked at, seemingly again and again, this week, as I embarked on a project to truly organize and further categorize my work within Zenfolio, the website I use.  A few changes had been made by Zenfolio, and I had, quite frankly, been putting off this task.  As every photographer knows, most of us would much rather be taking photographs than organizing.  But my friend, Susie, said she was running short on greeting cards and was unable to find names and information on my photographs.  Thus, I took the dive.  Having 800+ photographs featured in the Zenfolio blog alone, made it an interesting task.  I am very nearly finished.

Regardless of where you artistry or photography takes you this week - near or far - I hope it provides joyful and creative experiences.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@




Daryl, your thoughts on photographing what is at hand have coincided with my own similar ideas. I have been slowly gathering materials I need to start painting, again, and in that process have even made a list of what I want to paint, and much of it is here in this Valley, memories of where I lived, before, areas in the Valley that struck me with their lonely vistas, and scenes on my own place. Some of the list includes other places I've lived or visited where the feelings etched in my mind the scenes and even the titles of the works. Now to get them from my brain onto the 'canvas'. LOL I definitely have plenty here to capture "the nearness" in this high alpine desert place. That California coastline Monterey photograph you included is incredible with its texture, as are the shots of tea. You've always been good at photographing the nearness, because you are always on the lookout for the artistic frame, and receptive when something hits you. I think it's amazing how you can take the simplest of forms or ideas and make great art of it. SMH. :)
Steve Immel(non-registered)
It's another thoughtful entry you've brought us today, Daryl. Your musings on the de Steiguer's solitary existence and her explorations of Star Island in the depths of winter are rich with bone chilling imaginings. Who among us hasn't wondered about such a life? And I'm taken by your phrase "photographed the nearness." I have to ponder that since I seem to have to leave what's close to be inspired. That's powerful stuff. We have often contemplated sharing a house with kinded artistic spirits on Monhegan Island, Maine during winter. You in?
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