A photo of a neighborhood cafe that I took in April, 1973 on St. Simons Island, off the Georgia coast:


Hazel’s still stands, at 1166 Demere Rd on St. Simons Island, GA.  If you google the street view, you’ll notice the paint is long gone and the car no longer lurks in the background.

My maternal grandparents retired from Manhattan to a rambling home on neighboring Sea Island in the early 1960’s. We spent Easter vacations there every year. When I was old enough to drive I would borrow the car and go exploring. The best finds were places like this, that exemplified the island’s rich history, or discovering a small treasure trove of old 45’s (Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie) in a little record store on the mainland.  I explored a marshy pond off a back road and found alligators – a little too close for comfort – and a black bird called a Smooth-billed Ani, which was very rare in Georgia.

Some things endure, some don’t.

I’m white, and the privilege of my race and class afforded me many wonderful experiences in Georgia back then. Not so much the local African American population, most of whom were employed in service to whites, worked long hours and likely didn’t have the time and freedom to wander around anywhere they wanted, in search of interesting sights.

The ease of being Caucasian endures in this country, and the challenges of being African American can still be life-threatening.

Hazel’s cafe apparently endures too; unfortunately I lost the 45’s.  The nameless cafe in the header photo is probably long gone, and alligators are probably scarce in the area, with all the developments and golf courses, but the Smooth billed Ani is still considered a vagrant in Georgia.

(Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance)


around the corner, and

in a split


everything will change.

Wonder –

disappear into it.



This photo tells the story of a man about to disappear around the corner into a wilder place. More story-telling pictures are here, where every week photographers rise to a new challenge put on by The Daily Post at WordPress.

The photo was taken at Larabee State Park in Washington, about an hour north of Seattle.






It looks like someone took a little nibble from this skunk cabbage leaf – it’s tightly twisted, new leaves must be really fresh.  But personally, I wouldn’t go for it!  Local indigenous people did find a use for the plant though – they used skunk cabbage leaves, which can get really huge, for lining baskets and such.

It’s another Photo Challenge from Word Press – the challenge: images with TWIST! More here!



ON A FEW ACRES OF DESOLATE CALIFORNIA DESERT, a man named Noah Purifoy settled in and went about making art for the final fifteen years of his life.  His outpouring of sculptures, many of which are big enough to walk through, are now an outdoor museum. After I managed to locate the museum at the end of a narrow track off an obscure dirt road in the Mohave desert, I was so taken by the creative energy pulsing through the site that I could barely hold still to take proper photographs.

Below is part of a large sculpture made from discarded objects, Purifoy’s material of choice. In this piece, fabric has been cut, torn, glued and stapled to a wood surface, then subjected to at least ten years of desert sun and wind.

Walking around and into the installations moved me to look carefully and think differently about materials and their relationships. Purifoy’s spirit is catching. I wanted to jump in and join him, even though he’s been gone for ten years.  Just to see what would emerge, I cropped the photo and converted it to black and white, revealing expressive folds and torn edges in the cloth that might evoke a landscape of thwarted desire. Or something else entirely – this is art that invites participation.  At the top of the page is my reflection in part of another sculpture which involves a broken mirror and glass on the ground, enclosed in a complex, room-like structure. Soon I’ll post more photos of Purifoy’s sculpture.

“I do not wish to be an artist. I only wish that art enables me to be.”

Noah Purifoy  (1917-2004)

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is to share a photo of something that is art in your eyes. Purifoy’s work is art to me, and it moved me to tweak my photograph of his art, making more art…

More WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge “Art” experiences can be found here.

The Noah Purifoy Foundation:




Staring down at water lily leaves after rain…

Surely it’s spring, even without green!

For some people, especially those struggling with depression or those who lost a loved one at this time of year, spring can be a hard season. Someone whose personal world is drained of color and hope can feel even more alienated by all the renewal and rejoicing going on.

So this is a reminder to be aware of people nearby who may be struggling, and to allow them their space – and maybe to gently suggest that a world seemingly drained of color can have it’s own beauty.

And it’s temporary, everything is.

Many images of Spring that may strike your fancy: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

A Graceful Character

I wish I knew what this Chinese character means – but to me, it’s beautiful form may be enough.

LETTERS – that’s this week’s Daily Post Photography Challenge.  The challenge says,

“As you look through your lens, think about how your image might convey something bigger: a snapshot of how we communicate with one another, even if we don’t speak the same language.”

I wonder, does a person fluent in Chinese notice the inherent beauty of this character? Or does it whiz like lightening through the brain as it connects with other characters to create meaning, disappearing as the meaning is grasped?

But I think any sensitive reader of Chinese might notice the artfulness of this carved and painted character.  And for me, there can be no meaning beyond the graceful form.  That’s enough, for now.

Wikipedia says that Chinese characters are the oldest continuously used writing system in the world. People who read Chinese usually know at least 3,000 – 4,000 different characters. I’d like to learn Chinese, but, well, not very likely at this point!  I will always appreciate the artfulness of the characters, though.

This photo is from my archives; it was taken at New York’s Snug Harbor Chinese Scholar’s Garden.

More responses to the photo challenge are here!





On Top” is this week’s theme for the WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.

Stacked on top of one another, toilet bowls are reminiscent of Greek columns, creating an amusing  “formal” entryway for a site specific sculpture.


A few miles outside the tiny town of Joshua Tree, in southern California, acres of eccentric sculptures sit unattended* off a dusty dirt road. The artist Noah Purifoy lived out his last years here. His trailer and supplies, worn and bleached from the relentless sunlight, are evidence of a life dedicated to art.  Scores of sculptures he fashioned using found objects and most anything else that came his way compete for your attention as you walk through the property. It’s essentially a huge art installation that feels a little like a carnival, a little like museum, and a lot like stepping into a very creative mind.

The photos show sections of one large piece. Climb the stairs, and you’re on a fanciful deck overlooking the Mojave desert. Ahead, a cut out view of a nearby Joshua tree is framed by scraps of wood, sheet metal, an old shoe and assorted sundries, arranged on top of one another in an assemblage that begs close inspection.

Purifoy was a fascinating man – take a look!


I’ll post more photos of his work one day soon.

And many more photo challenge entries are here.

*Though no one is at the site to monitor visitors, The Noah Purifoy Foundation does oversee and care for the work.  It’s not an easy place to find; the day I visited, only one other visitor was there.  The remoteness and lack of promotion have probably saved Purifoy’s work from vandalism.


Looking into a pool of water, branches with new leaves are reflected as they dance on the wind.

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is “Reflection” and more images of reflections can be found here.


When Inside moves Outside

In Joshua Tree, California, the warm desert climate makes eccentric dreams possible:

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is to post a photo that conveys the idea of “Inside.” I’ve probably done the opposite here, but it was irresistible.  I have always enjoyed the idea of blurring the boundaries of inside and outside, especially in homes.

Last week it was too cold to use this tub next to a home in Joshua Tree but it must be lovely on hot summer nights. Across the road, another resident has plunked her bed outside, 30 yards from her house amidst desert flowers, cactus and shrubs. The rumor is that she keeps the animals away by peeing in a bucket and pouring the contents in a circle round the bed…

More photos of things inside are here!

(My apologies for the poor quality of the photo – it was taken with a camera phone in the evening.)