I first met Maureen and her mother one afternoon at Ovedia, an artisan chocolate company located in a nook among the mill buildings and twisty sidewalks of downtown Amesbury. We chatted over iced teas (tart raspberry for me…delicious) and I asked Maureen about her favorite books, music, and films. The first time I saw a real glimmer in Maureen’s eyes was when she talked about Midnight in Paris…the writing, the setting, Paris, the streets, the alleys. From there, she went up in flames over her love for reading, lately focused on epic, historic novels set in kind of exotic places. Maureen loves the details, and has an uncanny ability to retell them. She laughed easily, and made me laugh several times with her particular brand of self-deprecating and sometimes dry wit. Oh. Did I mention she plays the French horn?
Listening to her, I brainstormed possible locations. Paris. Marketplace. Saturated color. Rich, natural textures. Interesting architecture. Some weeks before our meeting at Ovedia I happened to drive by a remarkable collection of truly lovely buildings in Newburyport, which I later discovered included an architectural design office and residences. To call it “a collection of buildings” (my own words) is inadequate. It’s really more like a symphony of buildings. And the way the afternoon sun cast light and shadow on the property was enough to make me clap my hands and do fist pumps in the air. Sitting alone in my car. Stopped in the middle of the road. In plain sight. So, back to Ovedia, sitting with Maureen and her mom, I knew. This was the place for Maureen. And, much to my delight, the owner/chairman of the firm very graciously agreed to let us use the space for Maureen’s shoot. To him I say thank you, thank you, thank you.
On the day of the photoshoot, after having her makeup done by the ever-talented makeup artist Pam Mouradian, five of us made our way to the location and were welcomed by the owner, who much to my surprise and delight invited us through the gate and into a courtyard, or rather a series of courtyards. I want to describe the place and our gracious host in perfect and beautiful detail, and maybe I will if you ask me in person — but to maintain at least some privacy, I will stop here. But, believe me when I tell you: it is truly a special and sanctified place.
We spent a couple of hours in this place, and Maureen interacted with me and the camera so beautifully. She listened, she moved, she pushed herself, she relaxed. I witnessed in her such a great capacity for centering and awareness of self-in-place. In those quiet moments, looking through the camera at Maureen, and at this lovely place, and the women and men who made it possible — I felt deep and profound gratitude. I still do.
I’m excited for Maureen and her family to see her portfolio of shots, which will happen soon. But until then, here below is a small collection of shots from that day. Enjoy.