Friday, December 7, 2012

Portrait of a Book Club

When moving to a new community, the first thing many people do is join a church. I join a book club. That is where I first create my community around a shared belief system, the love of books.

My photography class final project assignment was completely open-ended. I wanted to do a project that was meaningful to me, but I didn't want to take photos of my children. That would hardly be more than my everyday activity, and I wanted to stretch my abilities. I tend to prefer to take photos of inanimate objects, but I pushed myself in that regard as well. I decided to create a portrait of my book club.

Surprisingly, without a great deal of persuasion required, ten women took time out of their lives to allow me to photograph them. My only request was that I photograph each reading a book in her home. I wanted to capture each of them in her natural habitat.

I joined this book club the second month I lived in Rhode Island. A few have left, and several have joined since then. We have been static for about the last two years, and these women have become my friends. I have always considered them to be intelligent, witty, beautiful people. It was only after staring at their faces for hour upon hour during the editing process that I fully realized what outer beauty they each have as well. I have been so comfortable with and impressed with these women for such a long time now that it never occurred to me to consider how they look in addition to who they are. After this project, I admire both their inner and outer beauty, as well as their lovely homes. I did my best to try to capture something of how I see each person in the photo I chose to present.

Here is my portrait of our book club.

woman reading by window

book in hands

woman reading outdoors

woman reading with dog on her lap

close-up of woman wearing glasses reading

woman in colored slippers reading a book

woman reading a book in front of a yellow wall

woman in argyle socks reading a book

woman reading a book in front of a window

barefoot woman reading in a papasan chair

woman lying on bed reading a book

 (For those of you who don't recognize me, I'm the last photo. Self-portraits are a pain, by the way.)


  1. What a beautiful tribute, Cynthia. I'm honored to be a part of this project and your circle of friends. Hugs!

  2. This is beautiful. I really love it. Excellent job!

  3. Cynthia:

    Great job. I am sure you will get an A. You should do a photo of Susie reading. (Have some ideas for props)