Monday, June 24, 2013

Recent graduates and company

It took a little time to assemble this group. Friends and relatives of the original five or six girls jumping on the steps of their house wanted to join the group as they drove or walked by. This either upset the look of the group or distracted the people in it. Finally a little peace descended over us when additions to the group dried up and passing drivers ceased to catcall.

The high spirits were partly due to the two girls in flowered skirts on the left. They had graduated from their school that afternoon.

Granny was there when I first turned up―enjoying her large family, but she soon disappeared inside when I asked her to stand over there instead of where she was. I think she also saw that helping to control the young people was not a battle she wanted to take part in. Just as I had things in a fairly orderly way, she appeared at a second floor window and asked when her pizza was coming. An added hazard was that two of the women wanted to photograph me while I was struggling to photograph them.

Young man and his fiancé

"I'll bring you 50 dollars tomorrow," he shouted as he left his sisters who had been such a rich source of subjects for me. He used to live in their house, the only male amongst seven or eight women and girls. "I moved out as soon as I could afford it, to get a bit of peace and quiet."

He has a job with a moving company in New Windsor, NY and told me that his father had drummed into him the necessity to leave no stone unturned to find work. This included going to every party there was, because that is how you meet people who can help you find a job. And that was indeed how he found this one, through a friend at a party who told him that his company needed people.


Comfortably seated

Looking at this picture I think how comfortable she looks. But I wonder if she is, considering the edge of the pillar is pressing into her temple.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The love of horses

Every year during Memorial Day weekend Sandy Saunders, who farms 150 acres in Garrison, New York, invites Leona Dushin, seen here on the right, to bring her horses and young riders to spend two days and nights in the ring, jumping and dressage in the fields, and sleeping in the hayloft of the stable barn. The photograph is of Caroline and others watching a demonstration, given by Hope Turino of Equine Assisted Growth Learning Association, of how we can overcome troubles and develop skills through studying a horse's reaction to our behaviour with them.

Leona is 88 years old, and many of her horses are Morgans which she has bred herself. "When I started these pony camps just after World War II we were all boys. Then the boys became interested in masculine sports like lacrosse, and now I do not have a single boy."

I was a boy who had always ridden and who never took to masculine sports. As a child in England, I was first taught by Miss Rogers in Crockham Hill, Kent. She had all of the discipline and loud voice of Leona without her humour and gentleness. When I was in my early teens I was taught by Sam Marsh, a former Olympic rider.

Then, for a number of years in the 50s and 60s, I rode in the early mornings in Richmond Park in London, exercising polo ponies with my friends Tatyana and Marina Orloff, who were sisters and also half Russian. It cost nothing — you went out once with the head lad of the stable and if he saw you were all right with his ponies, you could come as often as you liked at 7:30 in the morning and walk and canter for an hour across the rough grass and bracken in the park.

Sandy Saunders more or less runs the farm single-handed. For ten years he has had help from Shelley Scott, a 28 year-old recently qualified nurse. She loves the farm and the work, lives over one of Sandy's barns, and arranges her nursing schedule so that she can still be there for the horses and haymaking. Now that she has steady work as a nurse she wants to buy a horse herself. "You can buy a racehorse for a dollar. If they don't win races they are useless to their owners."

I am filming Sandy and his life on the farm. Here is a sequence I made last autumn.