COLLECTING

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Why stuff your pockets with lucky rocks?  If you are a collector, especially of free treasures strewn on nature's paths, you know the impulse.  These are divine scraps tossed down from the Olympian banquet to your very feet.  

The shore of Lake Champlain at Shelburne is lined with millions of black stones with veins of white, each different.  Of the visible millions, a few leap out and catch a roving eye.  The crunch of a glacier eons ago left them with a surprisingly organized or appealing design.  Will pocketing bring the magic home?  And why on earth photograph a lucky rock?  If collecting is to have and hold the magic, rendering by any medium is to preserve, show and broadcast.  

Rock portraits have a curious appeal especially when the artifacts themselves are present.  They were a draw at a recent exhibit.  Some viewers wondered if I had painted the design or if the rocks were for sale.  The display triggered thoughts and tales of their own collecting or simply triggered their own sense of wonder.  Job done!  Art, even at this ephemeral level, reorients the eyes to nature's magic.  It's the job of the lucky rocks, and their portraits, to evoke wonder. 

For a selection of framed lucky rock portraits, visit the shop.  

HARVEST RESTAURANT, circa 1980

 Roger, the french host and one of the Harvest icons of the day, mingles with staff.

Roger, the french host and one of the Harvest icons of the day, mingles with staff.

A cast of characters circling around a time and place can coalesce into a unit that lingers beyond the moment.  The Harvest Restaurant, circa 1980,  lives clearly in the memories of those customers who clustered around the smoky bar each night or partook of the unique dining experience.  The chefs and sous chefs were part of an exploding Foodie scene in Boston and now lead restaurants themselves.  The wait staff were artists, dancers, writers by day and a service team / tight friends at night.  Thirtyfive years later, it is easy to bring to mind the three groups that became a happily dependent unit in a particular time and place.

While kelly green is not my color,  the form fit marimekko vests, as worn by Harvest staff, seemed the height of fashion when I first saw them through teary eyes at a post break-up lunch in 1980.  I envied the confident sophistication of the waitresses.  I rushed to get an application and became a Harvest waitress, serving an obligatory year as barmaid before graduating to the rarified air of the "dining room."  Slugging it out in the jammed bar or meeting the refined standards of the dining room sealed a bond among workers:  the magic of the green vest.

In those two years, I photographed typical days as well as tasting events and staff parties, (none better than cruising around Boston Harbor to the tunes of Room Full of Blues.)  It was not an assignment, just an impulse.  Whether I was using the camera as a shield or simply to record the surrounding group, is moot and likely both.  The photos amplify the memories.  After thirty-five years and on the fortieth anniversary of the Harvest, it is a good time to share.   Kudos to Jane and the late Ben Thompson. 

For more photos from the period, visit:  FLICKR/HARVEST