What a fun afternoon it was photographing this sweet girl named Jane on the day of her christening. She was the cheeriest subject I have ever had, completely content going from arm to arm among her adoring relatives, including two of her great grandmothers! It was a hot and sunny summer day, but the lawn under a canopy of trees was perfectly lovely for a party.
Photos from my stay with friends at Barnhouse, an artist’s summer colony in Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard. Everywhere I turned, there was something interesting to look at, or hear about on this historic site. The property preserves a beautiful tract of land that was farmed from the late 17th century until its purchase and conversion to a communal retreat in the 1920s, and the architectural significance of the original farm house, barn, stone walls and livestock enclosures are part of the reason that it received its historic site designation by the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.
But what I loved the most about Barnhouse was the 20th century story, and the fact that the vision of a group of idealistic, liberal socialites – who were perhaps reacting to a period of excess and post-war, political discontent when they formed the colony in the 1920s – continues today: the small cabin accommodations are intentionally rustic, the barn functions as a shared activity and eating space, and everyone participates in daily chores and the running of things when they stay.
The sparsely furnished cabins, outfitted with chamber pots, laundry lines and floral linens, were an endless source of inspiration for me and my little Pentax, as were the seasons of accumulated art, beach stones and salt-sprayed paperbacks left by guests past. Of course, the other amazing thing about Barnhouse was the food, prepared by chef Betsy Carnie and lovingly presented each day with colorful, edible flower petals and other delights from the kitchen garden.
I didn’t really feel like shooting a whole lot of digital on my vacation, so most of this is 35mm. When I’m working on a photography job, I put so much pressure for perfection on myself, which comes out as a near frenetic intensity to ‘get the shot,’ check the image, read the histogram, and reshoot if needed, all in as little time as possible so as not to miss anything (I think that’s the wedding photography training that I just can’t kick). Since that’s not possible with film, I can enjoy the process of the capture a little more. I take one, maybe two shots of what I see, and then let it go. If it turns out, great. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Meanwhile, I’m not buried in the back of my camera with something interesting right in front of me. I take the shot, and then I enjoy it with my own two eyes for a little longer. And besides, with film, I expect a little imperfection in each photo, otherwise, what’s the point?
For more information about Barnhouse, here is an interesting lecture given by Dr. Bruce Clouette on the history and significance of the property.
Over the last few years, I have had the pleasure of watching (albeit from the other end of the country) my high school roommate and friend Marielle Ebersol discover her passion for yoga. Marielle has always been one of the healthiest people I know, with a reserve of energy and determination that is at the core of her character and her strength. It has truly been inspiring to see the puzzle pieces fall together in her life – it made perfect sense to me when she told me of her decision to shelve acting and pursue a career as a yoga instructor – and I am so proud that she is blossoming as she begins to establish herself. This past summer, we woke up at daybreak to hike down to Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard for a little photo shoot, and the light was just unbelievable. Good things come to those friends who allow themselves to be dragged out of bed at 5 am, I guess. Read on for an interview with Marielle.
Hope State Style: You’ve been doing yoga every single day for over two years now, and sharing your journey with your Instagram followers- what started you down this path, and what have you learned in the process?
Marielle Ebersol: Today is my 790th day in a row of yoga and I really cannot believe that I have come this far. What started as an experiment has turned into an incredible journey of learning about myself and growing day by day. When I started out I was feeling a little stuck and on New Year’s Day of 2013 I said enough of that, and I decided to challenge myself to see how long I could keep the resolution going. And somehow here I am over two years later, a certified yoga instructor teaching in Venice Beach, California. I have learned that I am much stronger than I ever thought, and that when I really put my mind to something I can achieve it. I have learned to be kind to myself and not to compare myself to others and that is still an everyday challenge. Everything I learn I am continuing to learn every single day.
HSS: Yoga every damn day though…that’s really intense. What do you do on days when you are sick or just don’t feel like it? Does child’s pose count?
ME: There are definitely days I don’t have a ton of energy and on those days I either really take it easy in class and take a lot of child’s poses throughout, or I do a very simple at-home practice. That very well might be a long child’s pose on my bed. Or scooting close to a wall and sticking my legs up the wall for ten or fifteen minutes. As long as I am taking the time to bring my thoughts away from whatever else might be going on in my life, that is yoga for me, as challenging as that may be. But it has allowed me to be kinder to myself and acknowledge that it is absolutely still yoga even if I’m not in a 90 minute class.
HSS: What does your usual routine in the morning look like? Any favorite post yoga breakfasts?
ME: My morning routines seem to change every day, but I usually wake up on my own around 7:30 or 8 and walk to yoga. Sometimes I get on a swing of waking up really early but those don’t always last! I am a big fan of eating after I practice and that is nine times out of ten two eggs over easy with whole wheat toast and raspberry jam. Before that I usually heat up some water and mix it with a little apple cider vinegar and honey (thanks to my mom’s ritual every morning).
HSS: What’s the coolest place you’ve ever practiced?
ME: This summer I was lucky enough to visit Dubrovnik, Croatia and I think my favorite place was practicing on the roof of our airbnb, looking out over the Adriatic and listening to the church bells down below. Practicing above such a magical place was incredible.
HSS: Any advice for the fledgling, charmingly inflexible yoga convert (naturally referring to myself)?
ME: Baby steps. Don’t put so much pressure to fall into a perfect practice. Be kind to yourself, even if it’s a few sun salutations every day. Even if it’s just ten minutes on your mat. As long as you take a pause from your busy day to breathe, you are doing it, and you will absolutely feel a difference. Everyone starts at a different point and every single body is different from the next. So you might not ever get those side splits (even I’m not doing them yet!) and that is totally ok. Again, be kind to yourself. It is so so so important.
Marielle Ebersol is available for private yoga sessions in LA and can be contacted at Brighteyes41187@gmail.com. If you happen to be in Los Angeles, you can take her yoga class Sunday mornings at 9 and Wednesday nights at 9 at CrossFit Santa Monica. To follow her practice on instagram, head to Brighteyesyogini or find her yoga page on Facebook, Marielle Ebersol Yoga.
Last night’s sold-out A Midwinter White Party at the Newport Art Museum was a total blast! I can’t think of a more fitting way for my family to celebrate my mom’s retirement from the organization than by rolling up together, dressed in white (I wore my great great grandmother’s cotton petticoat, i.e. her undergarments) to take in this snowy spectacular of Herculean proportions. I am now picturing Hercules in a white snow onesie riding a moose and fighting polar bears.
The historic Griswold House was filled with mingling young glamazons, kooky artists, museum art teachers and local business owners, many of whom provided a generous amount of food, décor and prizes to keep the party going. Several Star Wars-like wooly monsters were also in attendance, and luckily for the museum, King Arthur made a special appearance in a white tunic and 40 pounds of chain mail to guard the artwork. The festivities were seamlessly carried off by the talented staff, volunteers and committee members involved, and the whole evening was bolstered by the irresistible call of DJ Reginald Charles’ beats.
Thank you, Newport Art Museum, it has been a joy to use “visiting my mom at the office” as an excuse to stare at beautiful things these last 7 years. And, I will never forget the smile on my dad’s face as he watched break dancers, roller skaters and mardi gras-esque nymphs perform to a remix of “Uptown Funk” under a sprinkling of LED snowflakes for as long as I live. Ah, young people!
Photo shout out for the polaroid at top goes to Matthew Cohen Photography – Thanks, Matt!
Hello world, it’s been a little while. I’m going through a whole summer’s worth of 35mm film, and have been thinking how much more enjoyable the culling process is compared to digital. For me, it isn’t just because there are so many fewer shots to sort, it’s the fact that even the total oops moments have a texture and abstraction that is nice to look at. Since I couldn’t bring myself to trash them, obviously the next logical step was for me to blog them. I’ve been having trouble with the take-up reel on my Pentax K1000, so I generally advance the film farther than normal to make sure it is caught, and it often produces blurry, hip-slung shots that can hold their own with the rest of the roll.