Self-Portrait, Indian Mound, Syracuse, NY 1975

I presented myself as if I were going to be in a fashion magazine spread. As a child, I wanted to be like my cousin Joan, model, stand-in for Elizabeth Taylor in "Father of the Bride," wife of the original Marlboro man model. She had presence, a free-spirited laugh and a beckoning, sexy posture. I wanted to live in that energetic world of 'being seen.' However, at twenty, my direction veered away from commercial modeling. I saw Alfred Stieglitz's "Equivalents" on the wall at Georgia O'Keefe's ranch. I was attending the luncheon she hosted for the Ghost Ranch Conference Center summer drama students, where I had lost my part in a play due to a sore throat. The director gave me his 2 1/4 Rollei to take pictures of the cast to console me, but I was lost without the part. I told Georgia and she sent me to wander through the arroyos to get closer to the rawness of the mesas and "let the powers out there guide me." The experience influenced me to go back to West Virginia University and sign up for a photo class. There was only one course on campus, and the only way to enroll was to switch my major from drama to the School of Journalism, which I did.

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