Marnie Crawford Samuelson, photographer
These photos in LASTING WORDS are for people who know they are in the last chapter of their lives. They are for people who are caring for loved ones who are getting ready to say good-bye, and for those of us who are healthy and brave enough to acknowledge that we are all living and dying at the same time.
This idea—that we are all living and dying at the same time is one of the profound lessons I learned from the poet Stanley Kunitz. I photographed alongside Stanley in his Provincetown garden for five years. We began when Stanley was 95 and finished when he was just over 100. A few photos from this time in Stanley’s garden are in LASTING WORDS and they have seeded more recent images.
As a photographer, I have also been influenced by the author Barbara Kingsolver from an essay in HIGH TIDE IN TUCSON. She writes:
In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing….Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.
In recovering from cancer more than a decade ago, I adapted her counsel to not only look at one beautiful thing each day, but to photograph one beautiful thing every day, or most days. Several of these photographs for LASTING WORDS come from that practice. For this book, I have tried to make photos that are simple, open, and healing.
I have worked as an independent photographer for the last 25 years. I also shoot and direct short documentary films and produce radio stories. My work is available through Boston Picture Group in Jamaica Plain, MA. I have a B.A. from Stanford University and an MSc from M.I.T.