Archive for March, 2008

Peter Turnley

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Tuesday night I went to Washtenaw Community College to hear a talk by a photographer. My friend and photo buddy, Bev, went with me. We both enjoyed his talk very much.

Peter Turnley calls himself a photo journalist. He’s been a photographer for over 30 years and has visited over 90 countries. His photographs have been on over 40 covers of Newsweek. He talked for about an hour and a half in the dark while showing some of his photographs (most of which can also be seen on his website He’s a good speaker and seems like a regular guy who has had some, as he would call them, lucky breaks. He spoke confidently but not arrogantly to a crowd of a couple of hundred people. It was a mixed crowd with lots of WCC students and a good number of older people. Bev and I figured we were right smack dab in the middle of the demographic group. When the slide show was done he took questions for a half and hour. He’s a good story teller and it’s amazing he remembers the details of places and dates he’s been. He lives in NYC now but lived for a good number of the last 30 years in Paris.

He, his stories and mostly his photographs inspired me to give taking photos of people a try!


Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Last Thursday was the first day of spring but it wasn’t until Monday when the robin showed up. It’s always been a sign of spring for me … that first robin. I also saw a female cardinal out my home office window. And, the birds, in general, have been singing for a week or two. Hopefully they know something we humans are only wishing for … warm weather is right around the corner! I know I’m ready.

Arlo Guthrie

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

About a week and a half ago I went to a concert at The Ark, a little folk concert place here in Ann Arbor. The concert was part of a weekend full of concerts scheduled as a tribute to the guy who started and ran The Ark for decades. He’s retiring and lots of old singers came back for the tribute concert weekend. The line up was great and included Arlo Guthrie. I love his song Alice’s Restaurant. He’s really a story teller, although he sits with his guitar on his lap and plays and sings every once in a while. He and Dave Bromberg were the best two on stage (in my opinion) and at one point Arlo started singing This Land is Your Land and just took off in the middle with a winding, seemingly hair brained story, probably well practiced, although spontaneous enough sounding. It was a wonderful moment and it reminded me how much I appreciate good story telling.

Old Friends

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Tonight I attended a fund raiser. Not my usual evening out. Amid the artists, lawyers, and friends of friends of friends of the focus of the fund raiser was a person from my past.

Years ago, when I first moved to Ann Arbor, I was involved in the Youth Companion Program. A program not unlike Big Brothers, Big Sisters, it was run on a local level, matching adult volunteers with young people. The little girl I was matched with was Shannon.
Shannon was five or so, blond, and full of innocent kid-ness that five year olds have. She was a treat. We went swimming, went on picnics, saw movies, went to the zoo, and countless other things I can’t remember now. Occasionally, her brother tagged along with us. I remember the first time they both piled in the car. I was terrified. Terrified something would go wrong, terrified they’d get hurt, terrified of the responsibility of having these two kids in my care. And everything went great. Nobody got hurt, nothing went wrong, and I chilled out after about five minutes of worry.

After a while, our relationship ended. I was her ‘Big Sister’ for more than five years and less than 10 years. I often wondered what happened to her, where she might live, what kind of person she was. And, tonight, I got to find out.

She’s quick with a smile and a laugh. Easy to talk to and, with grace and ease, filled me in on where she’s been, what she’s done, and a little bit of what her life is like now. She’s delightful. It was such a pleasure to re-connect and to see flashes of those little girl expressions I knew a long time ago in her now adult face. It was such a relief to hear that things are good and how she’s persisted in life. I always wondered how she fared. And hoped that I helped some how in some little way in her journey. It’s nice to know, whether I did or not, that she’s on her two feet, a charming young woman with a life of her own.