...set, consciously or not, a limit to my concerns. I wasn’t photographing the Bowery where we were living then, men sleeping in doorways, for instance. If one of the ubiquitous plumbing supply stores appeared as background in a photograph, it was accidental.
I was focused on my child, family and friends around her, the spaces she frequented – Museums, Central Park, the Staten Island Ferry, our apartments on the Lower East Side, her grandparents’ house in Connecticut. Through photographing her, and later understanding the reasons for this obsession, I learned to develop film and print. This lead to my teaching and to finding a profession.
I photographed Krissy for eighteen years. Then I was faced with the problem of finding different subject matter. By then I was totally committed to documentary work, to the extended series that took years to complete, to black-and-white film.
As I got older, I became freer to explore. For instance, I started writing and tried to learn to draw. But in general, each project had a set of perimeters.
When Elaine Mayes, a photographer my age who I met when she was teaching a the Tish School, N.Y.U., mentioned that she started putting up one photograph a day on Facebook in the beginning of January, 2016, I was caught by that idea. Of course, given the rules of the games I play, it was too late to start a yearly project. And I was already too preoccupied with uploading iPhone photos onto Instagram to want to tackle a daily photo diary that would result in prints. But, I thought – a drawing a day in February. Twenty-nine drawings. Leap year. That would be good. I had several tablets of archival paper. And I like using pen and drawing small objects that are meaningful.
I had no idea how important this morning ritual would become, that it would carry me through one month of winter, that I’d miss it. They aren’t spectacular drawings. I had no particular plans for them, except that they might be shown as a grid at Atlantic Works, a small cooperative gallery in East Boston.
But, because I’m so absorbed by Instagram, I took a few photographs of the drawings, the objects, the pens and the kitchen table to add to my feed. When I sent several to Ellie Grossman, an artist who still lives in the same apartment as she did when our kids were little, she liked them. And I realized that the photographs are probably more interesting than the drawings alone.
Now, the next problems arose. I hadn’t started taking photographs on the first of February. The iPhone photographs use the Hueless app. The digital file is quite small. Did I want another set of small black-and-white images? I took a few photographs in color with my new camera. They are shot in RAW. I could turn them into black-and-white, but I rather like the color. Now I have to break my rules, go back, set up the drawings, the objects, the pens on the table again. I rarely plan. I like chance…that I might have left my worn, pink wallet on the table … or that the pens and graphite pencils had been scattered into a pattern.