Urban Exploring

A year ago, my patient spouse and I moved from an exurb to the city of Lowell, MA. Even though we lived in the center of this (formerly) small town, walking was not an easy activity. In fact the walk score for our former address was 24 – meaning most every errand requires a car.

In addition to the advantages of downsizing at this time of our life and letting go of an incredible accumulation of “stuff”, we are thoroughly enjoying the advantages of city dwelling. There are real sidewalks here! And the walk score is 94 out of 100.

This summer I’ve made walking around Lowell a priority. There are lots of good reasons for this, not the least of which is walking is good (and painless) exercise.

Armed with my iPhone, I try to notice and record at least one part of my walk each day. I’m certainly not a street photographer and an iPhone does not make me Henri Cartier-Bresson, but it’s kind of a fun reminder to look around and appreciate what surrounds me.

What follows is a compilation of walking around this historic and beautiful city. And we’re off to more places to explore.

Taking chances

Last night, WCVB TV in Boston, featured three artists’ communities in Massachusetts. The one that I am most familiar with is Western Avenue Studios where my husband Adrien has studio space.  Western Avenue Studios is a unique and wonderfully diverse collection of over 250 artists who work in almost any medium you can imagine.  So much talent! And even more impressive, so much collegiality. It is truly a unique community.

The video, features several of the talented artisans, including Adrien, and it was broadcast last night, April 14th on the locally produced show, Chronicle. Here is the video segment featuring Western Avenue from that broadcast.

As Adrien and I watched the video for the first time last night so many things ran through my mind. First of all, when Adrien first started to talk seriously about working as a photographer, I wondered about his sanity in quitting his software job — partially two years ago and completely last August.  When he purchased his first pro equipment, I actually thought he was in the middle of a mid-life crisis — how wrong I was! Over the next months, with determination and purpose, he updated his skills as a photographer, invested in the time to explore what kinds of subjects he found fascinating, and worked at refining a portfolio of work that today blows my mind. As he says in his interview, he tries to capture the subject through the eyes — and oftentimes it is as if he has looked deep into a person’s soul and captured the person’s very essence.

Taking a chance on leaving a sure money-maker that allowed us to live quite comfortably over 25 years was a giant leap of faith. Building a service business is not easy and doing so in the wake of one of the worst economic crises in our recent history is even more difficult.

But I don’t think either of us would have traded one minute of uncertainty for the reward of following your heart into an art that you not only enjoy but you love. Last night’s Chronicle segment completed and affirmed this transformation.

To do what you love and to do it well is awesome. The eloquence of the talented artists at Western Avenue and on this broadcast simply takes one’s breath away.