Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Photography

Advisor

Larry Fink

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The qualities that excite me about photography are light, the relationship between colors, texture and everyday activities. I seek to capture the moment. Part of my every day life is living at Rokeby, one of the old Hudson River estates. I see Richard Aldrich every day. He is the eldest son and inheritor of one of the last estates continuously owned by the original family.

When I was working on a portrait project during my junior year at Bard I asked Ricky—as he is affectionately known— if I could photograph him. Ricky is decidedly out of the ordinary and embodies a way of life that is fading away from contemporary culture.

As I followed Ricky around I became intrigued by the way he spends his day; his relationship with his land; the variety of his many relationships, which encompass every social strata; his fascination with machines; his willingness to get his hands— as well as the rest of his body— dirty. I spent so much time photographing him that I became his apprentice, ready to pass him a wrench or push his ice boat. He introduced me to some of his favorite things: gas, oil, ether, and WD-40. He explained that WD-40 means water displacement and forty indicates that they perfected the formula after the fortieth try.

The first photograph I took of Ricky was last summer. I was driving home on the narrow dirt road that leads to Rokeby when I was stopped by Ricky’s battered old car parked right in the middle of the road. Ricky was sitting in the trunk of his car holding court with several intrigued people around him. This illustrates Ricky as a social paradox. I did not have my camera that day—so I used my iPhone to capture the moment. I never left the house without my camera again.

That moment inspired my senior project. I followed Ricky around for a year and photographed him from morning until night. We went from Red Hook, NY to get paint to Red Bank, NJ to iceboat.

I am still photographing Ricky and will make a book with selected photographs that illustrate the broader context of his life: his family, his mansion, and his travels. This show focuses on Ricky, a loving, caring, humble, generous and hardworking man with boundless curiosity and enthusiasm for life!

April 2011

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