Monday, August 24, 2009

Claire in the garden

Claire is in charge of the Summit Street Community Garden in Carroll Gardens, a job she inherited from the founder, who now is away quite a lot after she built a house in Santa Fe. This hot Saturday afternoon Claire was there with her friend tidying up and planning next year's changes. An exceptionally large rosemary bush, probably eight feet wide and five and a half feet high is one of the garden's features. As we admired it, she drew her secateurs from her pocket and clipped off half a dozen twigs for us.

I took a photograph with her friend by the rosemary but when she started talking about her life I got this one. Her hands, as we can easily see are never gloved. It is not only the dirt in her finger nails, but the way she has arranged her hands that drew me to this particular shot - one of many where her hands were in the picture.

After Barnard, trying to figure out what to do before graduate school, at the suggestion of an aunt she and her friend started Beastly Bites Animal Supplies. Later, after it became a success, they sold it. Now Claire describes herself as a community activist.


  1. This is a perfect example of what happens when the subject is allowed to assume their own pose by themselves naturally. What character- what a magnificent, complimentary way you've captured her here Dmitri. She's a true heroine.

  2. She's beautiful, and you've captured it beautifully.

  3. The first thing I noticed in this photograph wasn't her hands, but now I can't take my eyes off them. I've always been fascinated by hands, and the way she is holding hers is unusual. In her beautiful hands I see human fraility, the transience of flesh. I see a happy life of hard work and reward.


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