Isolation

isolation2020

If ever an image could illustrate how all of this sudden emphasis on social distancing feels to me.. and although I fall more on the introvert end of the spectrum, I much prefer hibernating on my own terms.

How quaint it seems now, looking back on the month of January when I took 4 weeks away from the rest of society- on purpose- in an effort to focus on writing the first draft of my first novel. How quaint it all seems, having a glass of wine at a crowded bar, accepting a hug from a friend, taking a flight or a train ride to a bustling city for a photo shoot, going to a live concert, a hair appointment, a diner, on a date.

I’ve been photographing this tree for nine and a half years now and even though it is Tree v2.0, the scene never fails me, either serving to uplift, inspire, mystify, or reflect the weather within.

EDIT: a dear friend just sent this raw John Lennon demo of “Isolation” to me in response to this post and I wanted to include it here: https://youtu.be/nGNgsptYdDs

díreach ag dul trí

The first time ever I saw your face, dreamy green island 🍀 An iPhone snap will never be able to do justice to my very first glimpse of Ireland . My eyes were as misty as this coastline realizing my epic solo EU adventure was about to begin. First country of three this sojourn!

I did a 32hr layover in Dublin and saw the Book of Kells at Trinity College, took in some beautiful works of art at the National Museum, walked along the River Liffey and did some time lapse photography on the Ha’penny Bridge, strolled St. Stephen’s Green, and braved energetic Temple Bar on a Friday night.

And then I was gone. ✈️

Like a pulsating mix of champagne and meteors

New York City skyline Photographs by Alessandra Nicole

A woman like me alone in a city like this spells trouble, which is presumed, and I wish that you were here for the adventure. I love New York City like I will never again love any inanimate object that seems real and breathing to me, she embraces me every time, my passionate lover.

I am seated in patient anticipation. I hear her voice from afar only to come around the curve after Newark and see her brightly dyed hair tumble upon the nape of her bone-white neck in the form of the latest color scheme on the top of the Empire State Building. Her hands stretch out to greet me with a different bauble for every finger of her warm-heart-cold-hands. I leave the train, climb the escalator, step through the automatic doors to 8th Avenue, and am intertwined with her once more. She steals my breath into her mouth and slaps me across the face with her icy January winds for not calling. I love her with all of my heart and I let her seduce me, caressing every part of me, until I look at my cell phone and see it’s after midnight and someone else is awaiting my arrival.

She pouts with her arms suddenly folded, the black lace strap of her bra slipping down over her shoulder, and I put my finger to her blood red lips, Shh, not tonight, but I will be back tomorrow. I’m just as disappointed to leave as she is to see me go, onto the ferry, where she closes her eyes in sorrow like a woman who knows she’s the Other One in my life, and I realize some of her glittering eyeshadow has rubbed off on my cheek. A man next to me thinks I am crying, and maybe I am a little teary at the heartstopping way her skyline is sparkling like a pulsating mix of champagne and meteors; he offers me a handkerchief.

Anyone would be jealous of the way I dream of her at night, the way I think about her throughout days away. In the morning, she awakes me with the memory of her warm deep kisses and here I sit at 9:30am, plotting the hour when I will steal away to my secret lover New York City. Oh, if only you could see us when we’re together…

words ©️Alessandra Nicole 2004

bits from Abiquiú

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Ghost Ranch, NM, near Abiquiú in Rio Arriba County in north central New Mexico

In March / April of this year I was able to explore the same hallowed ground that painter Georgia O’Keeffe celebrated in many of her works. Ghost Ranch was a restorative sojourn. Red faced mountains amplified the fiery sunrises and sunsets and stood protectively in silhouette when the navy night revealed billions of stunning pinholes to heaven. Free of many distractions, I spent my days on horseback admiring the landscape, in hot springs, and in my sketchbook.

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follow Alessandra on Instagram @Alessandra_Official

Peace + Ease

It’s been a turbulent few months politically stateside inviting plenty of opportunities to unplug and allow the soul to expand and exhale. So busy- I haven’t had enough time on my hands to keep up with my blog so I’ll just put this little slice of heaven 

right 

         about 

                       here.  ☺️

some more regional magazine work 

We picked up a stack of magazines from the studio over the weekend that included a note from my wonderful editor:

   
I was dispatched last month to meet a writer in Cecil County, MD to photograph farmer Robin Way and her circa 1700s cruelty-free, nonGMO, organic, grass fed, non pesticide working farm Rumbleway. Here are a few of the many images I took there that were published as part of a great profile written about Rumbleway.

  
Robin Way has run the farm with her husband since the 1990s.

 
Local artist Bill Dunlop painted this mural to greet visitors as they drive up to Rumbleway Farm.

   
An intern collects eggs from a mobile hen house. 

Komorebi

  
The Brandywine River. Has nurtured, inspired, and been the backdrop for generations of fine artists in southern Chester County, PA. The house where i live backs up to it and a few inches out of frame is a fantastic and simple old wooden tree swing that invites you to kick your legs out over this river of great heritage.

Autumnal Mums

It’s that time of year again! I bought purple mums to greet our guests at a wonderful little soirée we threw at the studio a couple of weekends back. The stunning marmalade-colored mums were given to us that night by our favorite friends Chris+Albert as a host gift. 

We mixed and sipped and mingled and then all headed to Longwood Gardens to see my friend’s brilliant light and sound installation “Nightscape”. It’s gotten incredible press and is only up for a few more weeks- a Must See!  More info: http://longwoodgardens.org/nightscape
 

4 years ago… 10 years ago happened 

This was from four years ago today… Popped up in my Facebook newsfeed and is worth remembering what I went through, curating a ten year commemorative exhibit (by request) of the biggest event in my life. I definitely got by with a little help from my friends! It was a collaborative effort that included a reading of an award winning off Broadway play and the authentic music of my Kabul-born musician and dear friend.  A well-rounded, personal, deeply intimate event. 

Here is a link to another small interview / article published about my experience: Delaware Photographer’s images of lower Manhattan on 9/11/01 to be exhibited in downtown Wilmington on the 10th anniversary

 

catskills gravity

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

   
 

  My pistol of a great aunt Freya from Amsterdam. She grew up in nazi occupied Holland. She makes award-winning dandelion wine, is a consummate storyteller, sharp wisecracker, and is a well-read, multi-lingual, vibrant, inspiring, formidable spirit. There really aren’t enough words to describe the All of her! 
 
 
Great aunt Bunny, her twin sister (my paternal grandmother), their brother in front of the little chapel on the Karsch family farm in upstate NY, early 1930s)

   
The little chapel on the Karsch family farm today, 2015

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It’s really cool inside, the family has Christmas Eve service annually and hold occasional memorial and wedding services there

 
Twins, their brother, and my great grandmother on the family farm I visited every summer growing up. Apparently, the twins worked the farm as their father preferred to play music and on any instrument around. My grandmother finally “escaped” the farm to go to Temple University in Philly to become a nurse. To this day she’s still a hard working woman and my favorite pen pal. Her “little” brother- my well-spoken great uncle Willard- and wife Freya reside on the land now.  Willard rebuilt the house pictured, preserving many of its original elements. 
  

Mural in Middleburgh, NY

   
  
   
  My second great grandmother Dorothy (first one passed away before I met her and my great grandfather remarried) lived here in town for years and I stayed with her often as a young girl. It’s just ten minutes’ drive from the family farm up on the mountain.
 
Here’s lookin at you, Kid  


Next- to make it full-circle to my birthplace of Stuttgart (when there was still a West Germany) to reconnect with the maternal side of my family. 

  
My very first passport as a German import – ha!!

  
Me with my EU / German passport 

Up to 100 wishes an hour

  

This is a screenshot from the lovely Sky Guide™ app (download it if you don’t have it already- it’s magical).
 

We enjoyed a sweet 3:55AM shooting star date and saw more than 20 brilliant meteors in a half hour! We sat in lawn chairs near the big open field across from the house and, necks craning in the inky small hours, counted.

I’ve adored the Perseids shower since I was a little girl summering with family in the Catskills. Although in southeastern Pennsylvania we’re pretty much at sea level unlike in the mountains of upstate New York, the meteors and their long champagne trails were still very visible. 

As a girl in the Catskills, I have vivid memories of being so close to the shimmering firmament I felt as though I could reach a hand up and pluck wishes directly from it, or that the effervescent glitterings would come to land in my hair and on my eyelashes like pixie dust. We were so close to the sky on the mountainside and it was stunning, breathtaking, ethereal.

Being in PA was special and surreal for other reasons. The early sounds along the Brandywine River were riveting. We listened to barn owls in the trees call hauntingly to one another as bull frogs croaked in unison down on the banks of the river. The air was refreshing and brisk at the 4:00 hour and the field behind us smelled sweet and alive. 

The Earth has music for those who listen. 

                       George Santayana

At first we sat looking over the house, northeast toward West Chester and found many fiery meteors draping their trails over the rooftop, but soon realized facing south and west toward Kennett Square afforded an even livilier view. The meteors were almost countless, spectacular in their number and intensity.

If you missed seeing the Perseids this morning, do get up and do it tomorrow; a phenomenon like this is worth a bit of lost sleep. It’s the stuff of life 🎆
Here are a couple of informative links about it:

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/perseids.cfm
http://www.iflscience.com/space/dont-miss-annual-perseid-meteor-showers

New York, New York

Enjoyed an unforgettable couple of days in the big apple with an important, beautiful (and camera shy) girlfriend of mine. We stood mere feet away from U2 at Madison Sq Garden (eeeeeee!!!), walked the Brooklyn Bridge, took a ferry ride to see the skyline from the lower Manhattan perspective, strolled through a heavenly italian market in Chelsea (Eataly!) and revisited Ground Zero together, having not been back since everything unfolded around us there on 9/11/01. It was thrilling, deeply memorable, and cathartic. 

   

South Philadelphia

street art adjacent to South Philly Tap Room

Grabbed some grub at our favorite little S. Philly spot just before going in to see Sir Paul McCartney perform an incredible sold out show! We’ve attended many concerts together in the past 3.5 years, from Neil Finn to Dr. John, Jimmy Cliff to Van Morrison, and many more in between. Our first date was a Ray Davies concert! Each show is impressive and special for individual reasons but we don’t think anyone could love and respect his fans more than Macca. He gave 3 solid well-paced hours of music and anecdotes leaving the audience wanting for nothing. It was a brilliant, generous performance mere days after his 73rd birthday! 

Parting Shot

I always try to grab a little snapshot of the NYC skyline after emerging from the tunnel in New Jersey.

Though the day was seasonably warm last week when we left the City, it wasn’t remarkable weather. That’s alright though, unremarkable snapshots are fun to play around with using iPhone apps and a friend of mine turned me onto one that gave me this result:

via Instagram @Alessandra_Official

So, who cares? It’s fun. Don’t judge the bad snapshots, use them to experiment. I create something, however small, daily. Sometimes an unremarkable snapshot inspires sketches, paintings, illustrations, short stories, down the line. I open my eyes and explore. That (and a little bit of love) is the stuff of life.

unexpected Snow!

I am cozy, hot coffee in-hand, in my creative nook today editing last night’s event shoot while listening to Neil Finn as the snow falls softly outside- this late in March! I can’t believe I’m hearing snow plows scraping along the curvy bend outside the house. It was 65° just three days ago! Some craggy old seasons truly don’t know when to let go, move on, stop it’s petty vanity and let the new season settle in- WE ARE ALL READY for it. Your grace has withered away and you have Long overstayed. Winter, you are OVER! As Neil Finn sings in his song Recluse, you are like a “dog pissing on a statue,” trying to mark your territory and get your last shots in before delving back down below the equator. Go bully another continent! Give us fresh flourishing sun-kissed Spring! Freedom and light and colour and life-giving inhales and exhales! 

A morning glance from my personal Instagram account:  My day lily looks forlornly out at the snowy vista. She was looking forward to being planted outside this weekend but we’ll likely wait another week. 

I have seen the world turning
in time you’ll find that some things
travel faster than light
In time you’ll recognise that love is larger than life 
-Neil Mullane Finn, Faster Than Light

We got to see Neil Finn perform last year on Apr 11th at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA, front and center, and were sent home swooning on a moonbeam of love. Such a great show!