A Visual Journey
Writer – Photographer
Leaving Home—leaving a childhood house, a familiar job, a dying friend, a cherished belief or a preconceived idea—life is about leaving home. Few, however, are lucky enough to leave home in a small boat and sail around the world, an odyssey I shared with my husband and documented in my book Waterborne: A Slow Trip Around a Small Planet. It is an adventure story, a memoir and proof that you have to leave home to get home.
The thousands of photographs taken during that period tell the other half of the story, the one that can’t be put into words. The one that comes from the heart, from the eyes and the slightly tilted, ephemeral world of the imagination. Sometimes “a photograph is worth a thousand words” but more than likely it’s saying something different. This selection of images tells the story through the transformative language of the lens.
In Stories I hope you will follow me on another creative journey, slightly out of my home comfort zone, into the frontiers of Flash Fiction and Micro Memoir that, like the photographic image, can be small containers of large ideas. Here I’m traveling without a compass and we’ll just have to see where we go.
Laurie slams the iron down on the crumpled collar, promising herself to iron at least three more items of clothing before the baby wakes up. What if Lisa leaves her husband and takes the bus to New York….. Her mind drifts off until the scent of scorched cotton alerts her to the brown triangle on the sleeve of her husband’s last white shirt. “God damn it.” She throws the shirt on the floor and runs back to her desk, head down, black scrawls spilling across the yellow lined paper:
Honey stares at her face in the cracked mirror as she shakily applies a layer of foundation to the sprawling purple patch below her left eye. Who the hell is this? She thinks. “What HAPPENED last night?” she shouts to Matt, a mound of bed clothes on the sagging mattress. She pulls at a knot in the nest of tangled hair that used to be sleek as a sheet of gold. Then the hair brush hits the lump. “WHAT HAPPENED?”
Father always said: “There’s nothing to be concerned about.” When I fell off my bike and scraped my knee: “Nothing to be concerned about. It will heal.” When I drove my car into the back of a dump truck: “Nothing to be concerned about. We won’t tell Mom.” When I over drew my checking account: “Nothing to be concerned about. I’ll cover it.” When Grandmother died: “Nothing to be concerned about. She was ready.”
Elinor bends her wobbly knees and leans her long sinuous neck over the water hole, languidly studying her reflected image, oblivious to the rustling grass behind her. Large soulful eyes and fluttering eyelashes topped by a two-pronged crown of buff horns float on the mirror surface.
After graduating from Mills College with a degree in English Literature, Marguerite studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. Marriage, travel and children paused her creative pursuits until, moving to the East Coast, she enrolled in the burgeoning photography department at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC. where she obtained a BFA in Fine Art Photography. This launched a life-long love of the photographic image in all its manifestations, history and processes, inspiring her to work with different non-silver processes, as well as black and white photography and one of a kind artist books.
She has taught black and white Fine Art Photography, and History of 19th and 20th Century Photography at Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia; Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Virginia; Anne Arundel Community College in Annapolis, Maryland; and the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC. Her work has been exhibited in Washington and Virginia galleries including including The Kathleen Ewing Gallery, the Foundry Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.
Her passion for the photographic image and its history was also manifested in her career as a critic and commentator on the medium for numerous art publications such as Afterimage, Washington Review of the Arts and the New Art Examiner.
More recently, her travels and the advent of digital photography have inspired her to explore the world of color. In 2017-2018, this work has been exhibited in Annapolis at the St John’s College Mitchell Gallery, the Maryland Federation of Art Gallery, and Gallery B in Bethesda, Maryland.
Her travel memoir Waterborne: A Slow Trip Around a Small Planet, will be published by Seaworthy Publications in 2019.
Special thanks to my friend and fellow photographer Olivia Reed who created this watercolor as a welcome home gift upon the completion of our circumnavigation, and who has graciously allowed me to appropriate it as a logo. It is the perfect metaphor for most of my endeavors, which are usually about sailing into new territory.
Marguerite Welch 2019