Leonard Nimoy: The Interview

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Leonard Nimoy for my book. Most of you know him as Spock from the series Star Trek. Besides being an actor, he is an accomplished photographer. The interview was approximately 30 minutes long and it covered his early exploration into photography as a young boy in Boston to his years at UCLA and into his adult life. He has been making photographs for as long as he’s been an actor. He is represented by R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Mass.

leonard nimoy, spock, star trek, interview, photographer

Portrait of Leonard Nimoy, Courtesy of R. Michelson Galleries

Jennifer’s doppelganger

japan, door, snakesSlithering black snakes
guard doors at Nijo Castle
for hundreds of years.


Yesterday afternoon I had a very odd encounter with a women on the train. Now, I’ve had odd encounters in the past, but this one was a little embarrassing (for me).

I was heading to the dealership in Allston to pick up my car that was being serviced and was forced to take the train. The MBTA B-train is always packed with students because it runs straight up Commonwealth Ave toward Boston University and Boston College. As the train pulled up, I could see through the windows at what appeared to be a familiar face in the crowd: my friend and former MassArt alum Jennifer Feller.  I smiled and she smiled back.  I began moving through the packed car toward her and I was about five feet from her before noticing that the Starbucks cup she had in her hand read, “Taylor” in black magic marker.  She continued to smile and I walked straight on by her to the back of the train––It was Jennifer’s doppelganger!  I guess that can happen to anyone, especially when you haven’t seen your friend for close to two years. After retelling the story to my wife, she laughed out loud and said that I probably made Taylor’s day.  Taylor if you’re out there reading this, Hi, I’m married.

I called Jennifer today to tell her this awkward story and she had a good laugh.jason landry, japan

Eight years ago this week, 14 women from MassArt (including Jennifer) and the token male, me, embarked on a two week journey to Japan and China.  We toured castles and temples, gardens and tea houses. We ate a lot of food and took a ton of photographs.  Some people got sick, and some people got sunburns.  We climbed a section of The Great Wall of China and got attacked by bugs. I signed a lot of autographs for school children in Japan––I was a rock star for about an hour.

While in Japan, I began writing haiku’s.  Why haiku’s you ask?  Since the time zone is 12 hours different than what I was used to, my inner clock was off and I couldn’t sleep.  I would stay up at night dressed in my Japanese onesie taking self-portraits in the mirror or would write in my journal.  The haiku’s were zen-like meditative moments for me.  After visiting the temples and zen gardens in Kyoto, I felt very inspired. I became centered and one within my onesie.  I hope I get a chance to return there someday.

Traveling and learning about different cultures has always intrigued me.  Study abroad programs should be mandatory in all schools.  You learn so much more than any book can teach you.  I hope all my travel mates are doing well wherever you may be.

Heidi Kirkpatrick – Book Arts and Photography

Book Arts…do you like books and art?  Here’s something that blurs the line between reading and photography.  This three-dimensional work of art is called Time To Play by Portland, Oregon based photographer Heidi Kirkpatrick.  I’m very smitten by her unique and creative approaches to photography.  In this piece, she has applied a film positive of two hands onto the open boards of a vintage children’s book.  I love how the illustration seeps through the hands creating a tattooed effect.

heidi kirkpatrick, time to play, book, hands, photograph, photography, book, writing, reading, childrens book


Nikki Segarra and The Mariner’s Descendant

I like to post interesting literary-themed photographs on this blog.  This one comes from Nikki Segarra.  The photograph titled, Namesake is from her series The Mariner’s Descendant.  Photographs from this series will be on display at Panopticon Gallery in Boston beginning on February 28th, 2013 in the exhibition The Things That Seem and Those That Are: Reshaping Photography through Alternative Processes.

nikki segarra, namesake, photograph, salt print, alternative process

Nikki Segarra, Namesake

Nikki Segarra’s artist statement reads:

“A consuming fear of water, seemingly inherited by my mother piqued my curiosity when I realized that I come from a lineage of mariners.  Hundreds of years and dozens of lives spent on the New England seas, and though I spent most of my life 1300 miles away, I found myself instinctively returning to the same shores that my ancestors have known.

Boxes of evidence and family records of ancestors who drowned, men lost at sea and the wives they left behind, have inspired an inquiry into the relationship between my fear and their lived experiences.  Drawing from the concept of Lamarckian inheritance, I question whether one’s thoughts and fears can be predestined through genomic imprinting.

In these photographs, I play the role of a mariner’s wife, stepping in the shoes of the past by assuming a role so common among my ancestry.  I use the landscape to construct imagery that is indicative of my emotional response as I try to understand ties between my fear and my inherited past.”

A Book of Books

If you like books as much as I do, including photography books, then Abelardo Morell’s A Book of Books is a must.  For all of my photography followers, most of you will know who Abe is.  This post is for my newer, book-loving writers and literary types.  Abe was one of my professors at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design when I was an undergrad and a mentor during my graduate studies.

abelardo morell, book

Abelardo Morell, Old Travel Scrapbook: Munich, 2000

Many people approach books for the first time in bookstores, in libraries and in schools.  Books come in all shapes and sizes.

But as Abe points out, these books have “less to do with their rarity or preciousness than with my wanting to find out the stories they have to tell. Making photographs of these imagined narratives is at the heart of my work here.

One of the big pleasures of this project has come from spending a good amount of time looking at, holding, smelling, and reading a terrific number of skinny, fat, tall, pompous, modest, funny, sad, proud, injured, and radiant books. Of course, there are many more out there to be found, by anybody!”

Many moons from now, some artist, somewhere, is going to get a wild idea for a series, quite possibly:  A Book of Kindles.

Dogtown – words on rocks

bill franson, courage, dogtownNo…I’m not referring to the skateboard company based in Venice, California.  If I were writing this post twenty five years ago, it might have been about that.  This Dogtown is located in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

(via wikipedia)
Roger Babson (founder of Babson College) was interested in the history of an abandoned settlement in Gloucester known as Dogtown. To provide charitable assistance to unemployed stonecutters in Gloucester during the Great Depression, Babson commissioned them to carve inspirational inscriptions on approximately two dozen boulders in the area surrounding Dogtown Common. The Babson Boulder Trail exists today as a well-known hiking and mountain-biking trail. The inscriptions are clearly visible. The boulders are scattered, not all are on the trail, and not all of the inscriptions face it, making finding them something of a challenge. Samples of some of the two dozen inscriptions include: “HELP MOTHER”, “SPIRITUAL POWER”, “GET A JOB”, “KEEP OUT OF DEBT”, and “LOYALTY”.

An exhibition of photographs of these boulders by Bill Franson are on display in the private room at Panopticon Gallery in Boston, MA from January 11 – February 25, 2013.


The Last Of His Kind

David Roberts, Bradford WashburnIt starts off Boy Adventurer – which he was.  Written by Cambridge, MA based author and avid climber David Roberts, this book chronicles the life of photographer and mountaineering legend Bradford Washburn.

This is the book that I’ll be starting this week.  If you are in the Boston area, there is an exhibition of Bradford Washburn photographs on display at Panopticon Gallery through February 25th.