Pieces of My Heart for Sale

Jon Campbell & I were invited to exhibit some of our photos at the Ipswich River Watershed Association 40th Anniversary event. The reception is at IRWA HQ on Sunday Nov. 5 2017 from 1-4 pm at 143 County Road Ipswich. The Watershed includes 21 cities and towns and the Ipswich River with its 45 tributary streams cover an area of 155 square miles. Both of my photos were taken in Middleton, one of only three communities that rests 100% within the watershed.

“End of Season with Picnic Table” was taken on the Ipswich River in Middleton.  What appealed to me in this image was that it looked like a black and white photo until the brown leaves and matching picnic table pop off the page. That snow topped table in relation to the only partially frozen river, instilled in me a certain wistfulness. Winter hadn’t quite taken hold yet, and I had in the back of my head been hoping for one more day of Indian Summer. This scene made that hope seem pretty much hopeless.  Finding this photo again in November, was especially poignant as we head back into the season that robs us of dining outdoors options. With effort, I remind myself there is a plus side – it minimizes bugs and ants.

DSC01463 Middleton Ipswich River Water Shed Exhibit photo from 2010 11.25 x 14.35 w watermark

“Misty Trees” was taken in Middleton along the Cuchnea (SP?) trail abutting Prichards Pond.  It is one of the few photos of mine that stops me in my tracks every time. It is a photograph that I miss when it’s spent too long in the deep archives of my photo collection. It was never a big prize winner in local photo contests but it continues to speak to me, and I find, a few other people who are drawn to it. I’ve framed it three or four times now, but this new frame is the best of the lot.  “Misty Trees” earned an honorable mention in the Middleton Stream Team Competition, and at the competition I learned that within a few days of my taking this picture the area (a tree farm) was clear cut. No one will ever see this image again except through photography.

DSC05122 Middleton Misty Trees with watermark - Copy (3) - Copy - Copy - Copy

Exhibits require the very nerve wracking process of updating my bio. Ugh, so much less fun than taking pictures. So I put together the panel below in the hope it said enough.

No such luck. Bios, I am told, need more words. Usually I love writing but writing about myself is such a hideous task. Ultimately I settled on this, at least for expediency’s sake. It will be tweeked again, I am sure, but I just don’t want to look at it anymore.

Bio and profile Alison Brain4Rent made for Ipswich River Water Shed Event

 

What started out as a means to keep personal memories alive and share the irrepressible beauty surrounding us, is taking over more of Alison Colby-Campbell’s life.  A long career as a professional marketing consultant exposes Alison to composition and messaging, both of which play into the positive stories she likes to tell through her photography, her calendar, blog and Facebook page, The Heartbeat of Haverhill, Alison Colby-Campbell Photography, and her articles for Haverhill Life Magazine. Alison credits The Middleton Stream Team Photo Competitions with encouraging her through a series of wins to place more emphasis on her photography.

Alison and her husband, Jonathan W. Campbell, who live in Haverhill, Massachusetts, find shooting photographs together provides an opportunity for collaboration, support, and competition that stimulates and encourages artistic growth. When she puts the cameras down, she usually finds she misses the perfect photo opp, but it does give her time to care for 2 giant and surly house rabbits, a weed ravaged garden, super lengthy Haverhill Cultural Council meetings, and binge watching Stranger Things.

Awards and Recognition:

  • November 2016 photography exhibit with her husband at the Massachusetts State House sponsored by State Rep Diana DiZoglio
  • First Place and a Best in Category at Topsfield Fair fine arts competition, and First Place in Agriculture photography at the Fair, too
  • The Heartbeat of Haverhill 2016 Calendar was selected for a city time capsule
  • First Place and People’s Choice Award in the Essex National Heritage Area photo competition
  • Cover photos chosen for the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce (GHCC) Members’ Guide, GHCC Visitors’ Guide, and Haverhill Life Magazine

 

(c)Alison Colby-Campbell

 

Camera Case – Non Essential Equipment Evaluation

A recent surgery required that I not lift anything over 10 lbs for 2-3 months. During the first week of my recovery that was fine; I hadn’t been inspired to stray too far from my bed, much less bring a camera with me. But then my real life started seeping back in… a walk to the back deck required a telephoto lens to help identify a bird, my little container garden was offering up the lush orbs of my better looking than tasting purple cherry tomatoes, the deck spider’s web was bedazzled in mist and security light …. I relocated my camera bag.

IMG_7515 Haverhill Spider webmaking to work up appetite

It is a short distance to carry my camera bag from the top floor to the back deck, but per doctor’s orders, I reviewed the contents for possible editing: extra cameras out, extra lenses out,  tripod gone, extra batteries out… no wait I need those, and so first one then another slid into my pants pockets (pocket stuffers can’t count as lifting, can they?)  The concern was ignored that fatigue might see me tossing the pants and batteries alike into the hamper upon my return to rest.

IMG_6770 HAverhill purple tomatoes

From there I road shotgun with my husband just glad to see something visible beyond our plot of land. He carried the bag to the car and waited within for my mini excursions to tire me out. I wiggled out of the car in my new more cautious gait with a single camera and my battery. Foolishly I’d culled even my phone and edged into the woods on a broad short trail. Prizes winners? Probably not, but at least I’d have something to enter into the Middleton Stream Team competition.

IMG_8297 middleton Stream Team contest

Days in bed meant I missed the cut-off for the Topsfield Fair Farm Photo contest, but that would not prevent me from checking out the beautiful backdrop of early autumn at Smolak Farm with an eye to next year, plus I still had a couple of days to switch out my Fine Arts photography entries if I captured something I really loved. Then like a donkey chasing after a carrot on a stick, I edged from one heavily laden antique apple tree to another absolutely perfect display of apples that was just out of range of my one lens.

IMG_8458 No Andover Smolak apples contest

Between the Middleton wetlands and the farm fruitlands, I probably walked a mile over uneven terrain, up and down modest inclines, knowing full well the next day would, by necessity, be a day of rest…. but I’d be back out the day after that with one camera, one all purpose lens and as many batteries and memory sticks as I can jam in my pocket. Can’t wait until the sun shines again because adding a flash just isn’t in the cards right now.

IMG_8442 No Andover Smolak sunflower flower better

(c)Alison Colby-Campbell

 

 

Photo Year in Review

Wrapping up 2016, Perhaps my most exciting photo adventure this year was being sponsored by Rep Diana DiZoglio for a Massachusetts State House Exhibit in partnership with my husband who is also a photographer. We had a one week show featuring the Merrimack Valley and beyond, towns very near and dear to our hearts. And we are in discussions to restage that show elsewhere! You can see more of Jon’s work at Jonathan W Campbell Photography

img_4677
MA State House exhibit with Jonathan Campbell
img_0025-middleton-stream-team-2016-contest-8x10-w-watermark
Middleton Stream Team Honorable Mention

I was also thrilled to become part of history. Are you kidding me!!!  My 2016 The Heartbeat of Haverhill calendar was juried into a time capsule for a gorgeous new city building that is part of the downtown renaissance of Haverhill, MA. I expect to be in the crowd in 25 years when the capsule is re-opened.

img_1198-team-haverhill-time-capsule-thoh-calendar-2016
The Heartbeat of Haverhill calendar is snuggled in a time capsule in this new building called Harbor Place in Haverhill MA.

But don’t stop there – other memorable photo moments included a blue ribbon for the Topsfield Fair Agricultural Photo Competition and two honorable mentions at the Middleton Stream Team contest.

img_8868-haverhill-topsfield-fair-2016-alison-colby-campbell-by-jwc
Topsfield Fair Blue Ribbon of wine grape harvest

I had two cover photos for Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce publications, had two images picked up by a Boston architectural firm, incorporated photos into a new marketing piece for the City of Haverhill, and helped people re-entering the workforce by shooting their profile pictures.

I received no awards at the Mass Audubon competition or Essex National Heritage Competition (you can’t win them all), but I did kind of win for the fact that I got out and explored these wonderful places.

img_4648-alison-colby-campbell-getting-awards-at-middleton-stream-team-2016
Middleton Stream Team Awards Ceremony
img_1135-middleton-stream-team-2016-finalist-drought-8-5-x-11-002_soft-copy-copy-copy-copy-copy
Middleton Stream Team Honorable Mention

Personally I love competitions, for as random and perplexing as some results may seem (I cannot tell you how many times I felt someone else was more deserving of my award), but if the judges provide commentary, it encourages me to up my game and look for something others might miss. Plus there are some good prizes that help with this expanding hobby as well as The Heartbeat of Haverhill calendar. Added bonus –  there are always new and inspiring people to meet – other photographers and people in the street and on the trails.

img_8133-audubon-snakes-and-toad
Snakes fighting over toad was gruesome and so not likely to win a beauty award but it was such a random shot to happen upon that I did enter it into the Mass Audubon competition to no avail. Still feeling bad for the toad.
thoh-2017-calendar-image-collage
Images from The Heartbeat of Haverhill 2017 calendar available for purchase at Positive Images Gallery in Haverhill.

So check out competitions if you love taking photos. You may as well start sharing your work within a larger and mostly supportive circle. I know I’d like to see what you’re shooting! And in the meantime – may you all experience peace along with a sense of beauty, wonder, and joy to inspire you.

dsc01515-1-peace-trees-snow-christmas-card-5x7-2016

(c)Alison Colby-Campbell