June 18, 2014
Photo Credit: Eli Dagostino
I waited and stretched and reached for this photograph. I watched as this wave broke itself over and over again against this rock on a warm fall day in September. The wind was coming from one direction and the waves from the other. Sometimes when the wind and water would meet nothing would happen and I would click in vain. But sometimes, every 20 waves or so, something magical would happen and the wind would lift the crest of the wave and just peel it back.
I love photographing in the fog. The heavy atmosphere creates layers separating foreground and background. Only what is immediate and closest appears clearly. The further out you try to look, the more your vision becomes blurry and shrouded. Fog simplifies a picture, taking away the messy details, the chaos and the distractions. I love the relationship between the net in this image and the invisible fishing boat it belongs to. I love how the net seems to capture the dock and the yacht club and ties the whole photo together giving it a strong sense of place. The emptiness in this photo gives off a sense of humanity too I think.
I am struck most by the color pallet in this photo, the warms and the cools juxtaposed against each other. I also love the serenity of this image, the flat calm and the perfect glass like perfection of the reflection. I didn’t see it at the time I took it, but people are always pointing it out to me, that the boat’s reflection has all this warm light in it that you don’t see in the actual boat. The sun is just 5 minutes above the horizon. It is only just beginning to wake up the day. Quietly its rays have managed to sneak into the frame of this photo and spill all this warm light into the water.
This photo sums up morning and the meaning of calm for me.
I took this picture in the late 70’s. It’s of one of my best friends from that time “Helen” and her dogs walking back to her barn. There is something evocative and emotional and melancholy about the photo for me, which is strange cause what could be more joyous than taking a walk in the snow with your friend and her dogs? But I think it’s that they’re walking away from me that makes it sad. Regardless, there is still a strong sense of connection and home in the photo. I love taking pictures in the snow it covers up the rutted roads and it edits the landscape so that it looks like a pen and ink sketch and allows only the bones to show through.
As a kid, my grandparents had a house on Martha’s Vineyard in Edgartown. On rainy summer days they’d take us to Oak Bluffs to ride the Flying Horses which have cheerful, zesty, honky tonk energy about them. There’s the scent of popcorn and butter and the sound of rings clicking and organ music playing. While The Flying horses bring up a rainy day memory for me, this image is so sunny, colorful, energized and cheerful-- the horses with all their reds and yellows swirling together. I wanted to communicate that the entire purpose of these horses is to go around and around in circles again and again. The motion, the thrill the noise and the colors is both exhilarating and at the same time exhausting. Nothing is still. Nothing is in focus. The image has a life of it's own, it's own motion. It isn't looking for perfection.
Location:Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts
Alison Shaw has been a photographer all of her life. After graduating from Smith College in 1975, Alison worked with the Vineyard Gazette as Design Director until 2000. Since then, she has put all of her energy into Alison Shaw Photography, which is now a multi-layered enterprise. Her work has evolved from documentary to abstract, always using her camera to literally paint with light.