Until last year, film-producer (forthcoming: "The Duchess" starring Keira Knightly) and screenwriter Carolyn Marks Blackwood had never shown her photographs to anyone. Once she did, a whirlwind ensued. Since then, her work has been shown at Paul Rodger's 9W Gallery in Manhattan in a show, "The Magic Hour," guest curated by Barbara Rose, the esteemed contemporary art historian. Simultaneously, her work appeared in another show, "The Elements of Place", at Lascano Gallery in Great Barrington, MA. (Alas, Lascano recently closed.) Currently, she is the featured artist in the online gallery of Scenic Hudson.
Most of Blackwood’s haunting and beautiful photographs are taken from her house in Rhinecliff, NY, which sits atop a 100-foot cliff overlooking the Hudson River. Some are riverscapes, reminiscent of the Hudson River School; others, of clouds and water, are more abstract.
Next year is the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s first sail up the river, a path Blackwood is ambitiously hoping to retrace. "I had a meeting with Alex Matthiessen, President of Riverkeeper," Blackwood says. "He and Captain John Lipscomb have agreed to allow me to photograph from the deck of their boat." Each year the Riverkeeper vessel travels thousands of miles up and down the Hudson, documenting sources of pollution and other environmental infractions. Since 1983, it has brought to justice more than 300 environmental lawbreakers. "Their purpose is so important," Blackwood says, "it is very kind of them to allow me to travel on their boat as a guest."
Blackwood, too, has a lofty purpose in mind for the images that result. An exhibition already has been tentatively scheduled at the Hudson Opera House for the fall or winter of 2009, the anniversary year. Blackwood hopes other municipalities and organizations with an interest in the river will follow suit and that a book will also result. She has pledged to donate proceeds to organizations dedicated to the river's preservation. But first, she must find underwriting to help defray production costs. Anyone have any thoughts?
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