Those of you who have been following the Joe Pastry Chronicles revealing the maverick side to my baking personality may be amused to see just how far back this goes. It was my father who took these photos of me when I was about four years old. He managed to catch a special ritual I had established but he needed to do it on two separate occasions (note the different outfits) in order not to preempt me that he was photographing, as I would have resisted. My father had built a porch on our little house in Far Rockaway, Long Island, and put up a gate to keep me from wandering off. When I was old enough no longer to need the gate he didn't bother to remove it. So the gate that was meant to keep me in I used (with great glee) to keep people out. (The defining concept of the Bauhaus--aside from form following function which I embraced on first hearing--is seeing things in a new different and often opposite way.) Here's little Rosie 'innocently' sneaking up to the gate. And here I am having succeeded in locking it just before the person was hoping to enter (hahahahah). Ultimately I did wander off into the empty lot next door. I was intrigued by the sparkling broken glass and stars of Bethlehem flowers. My grandmother threatened to call the police the second time I disappeared. That worked--until I got older. It was the beginning of my calling as an explorer. Here I was, a few years younger, on that same back porch, furious that my mother insisted upon hiding behind me in the lilac bushes to support me from behind to keep me from falling over backwards. I was certain I wouldn't but nowadays I would never be angry at any show of support, realizing how easy it is to 'fall over backwards'! Last week I had an amazing experience during a photo shoot in my apartment. FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology) was doing a story that will appear in their alumni magazine, Hue. (I will be posting it on the blog.) To save everyone time I had suggested using one of my existing press photos but they wanted a candid (un-posed) shot. They brought in photographer Matthew Septimus who succeeded in blowing my cover! Not since those photos of me and the gate did anyone capture the mischievous me. I've seen this happen twice in live Shakespearean theater--that magic unforgettable moment when everything synchs just right. I've captured it once myself photographing the chef in a tiny sushi restaurant in Kyoto (one day I'll post that photo) and I let down my guard for one brief instant of longing for the past, that Martha Stewart caught with her eyes during a photo session of my wedding cake on the porch of her Turkey Hill home. I'm mystified by these moments. One can't make them happen but when they do it stays with you for life. A stranger in France during an unforgettable trip with Shirley Corriher, told us that when he looks at people he wonders "what size hammer he needs to break through the window of their resistance." We all have these windows or walls that keep us functional. But when the veil lifts even for a fraction of a second it seems like the pathway to eternity has been revealed. No doubt Matthew Septimus has captured it many times (see his site) but it's the first time anyone has captured the inner me in a photo. Here's a preview!
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