The photographer Peggy Barnett has been one of my best friends for 35 years. She and her husband Ronald ran one of New York’s top still-life photography studios, where they made the industrial beautiful for annual reports, magazine covers, and product brochures. I met Peggy after I judged the Mead Annual Report Show and commented how much I liked their shots of plumbing fixtures floating in tubs of soap bubbles. She came to my office to show the whole portfolio, and we discovered how much we had in common (food, Viennese mothers) and became friends over meals in Chinatown. In addition to still lives of everything from hardware to perfume bottles, they shot exquisite black-and-white portraits and did evocative travel photography on vacation. The Barnett’s loft on 22nd Street near Broadway became a kind of second home. Over the years, Peggy photographed many significant projects for me, including recruiting brochures for Booz-Allen & Hamilton, promotions for American Express, and magazine covers for Morgan Stanley; most projects on Hasselblads and 4 x 5 view cameras. We continued to share meals, events, births and milestones of children, and long talks.
A few years ago, to be closer to family, Ron and Peggy moved to rustic Woodenville, Washington, just outside Seattle. She has become a poet and a fine-art photographer exclusively, exhibiting in local venues. Her work can be seen online at http://www.prbarnett.com/ and beautifully framed prints are for sale.
I’m pleased to share a few of her winter scenes, shot at Thomas’s Eddy, a wildlife park in Snohomish, WA.
Peggy writes: I was born and lived in New York City all my life. At the age of 60 I moved to the country with sheep, alpaca and horses down the road. Suddenly I am a nature photographer. Just as Thoreau did in “Walden Pond,” I’ve started a series called “Snohomish Pond.” While there is no actual Snohomish Pond, I photograph landscapes within 20 miles of my house in Snohomish County. They are my visual response to the intensity of the land surrounding me. I am primarily a still life photographer. I don’t take hundreds of images. I study the light, the subject, and the essence of the matter. My photographs are a window into a passing moment. They are meant to draw the viewer in and engage them in a detailed observation of place and time. Some places feel special, and Snohomish has many special places. If the image is right, this unique feeling will communicate itself to the viewer as “the spirit of the place.” My work could be called “visual Haiku.”