Twenty Roses

Abby Adams sm.jpgAdelaide Rusch sm.jpgArthur Woodman sm.jpgBilly Holseberg sm.jpgCathy Herrity sm.jpgChip Gooding sm.jpgEsther Brittian sm.jpgHenry Reilly sm.jpgJenny McLaughlin sm.jpgJim Watkins sm.jpgKathy Klotz sm.jpgKT Meyer sm.jpgLaurie Beltz sm.jpgLinda Clark sm.jpgLiz Bridges sm.jpgMary Caton sm.jpg



These twenty portraits are visions of students, friends, and teachers at Woodlawn School, an alternative public high school in Arlington, Virginia where I taught photography. They were made over a two-month period on warm spring days in 1977. Their creation came about as a result of a need for flesh and blood in my life and work. I had found that photographing objects, spaces, and the relationships of forms – no matter how tense of how elegant – to be personally unsatisfying, and that making “political” documents mostly frustrated me. I felt that I had been viewing life through the camera as an outside observer – removed, abstracted, and alienated from what I knew to be important, healing, and real. These portraits were a step into the real world; they were the first “real” portraits I had ever made. In doing them, I found myself soaking into the person before me. Hpoefully, a seed of this experience can be planted elsewhere…

The small image at the top? For me, it serves not so much as a caption but as an approach to the understanding and recognition of the person it accompanies. It is a secret (and now open) channel of exchange between me and the sitter. They are gifts, recognitions, avenues, kisses, prayers, hugs, and smiles shared between two people.

I see these images as opened love letters.

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