Saturday, October 23, 2010

Madame Sherri's Forest

October brings to mind, harvests, pumpkins, brilliant fall colors and Halloween with its ghost, goblins and spooks. What better time of year to visit ruins? This is what is so intriguing with Dave’s invitation to assist at this particular photo shoot. We find our way to Madame Sherri’s once glorious country home in the forest now crumbling and in decay. Formerly the site of high society parties, it is now visited by wildlife, hikers and curious visitors like us.

I see this place with the writer’s eye, but Dave sees this place through the lens of a photographer’s eye and has been itching to get back here and do a shoot with subject, lights and meters. Dave’s passion for his photography is palatable. You can tell in the way he works himself into lather as only one does with a lover. Once at his work, you cannot distract him. He is focused and serious.

Susan amazes me with how she gives for Dave. It is not a warm day by any stretch, and the weak rays of sun do little to help. Yet she is costumed in clothing suitable to wearing under much warmer weather. While I feel extremely self conscious in front of Dave’s lens, Susan is a natural, at easy with herself and those around her. She jokes, makes suggestions and takes direction all with grace and style.

I have my pocket camera with me, not for the reasons Dave carries his camera, but for a visual record of the day. Indeed as I review, I remember arms full of equipment as we trudge our way uphill to the ruins. The crunch of autumn leave beneath our feet, the crisp air and tangy scent of decaying forest foliage that fit so appropriately with the crumbling remnants before us.

Barry is here too. He is a better help than I with all things photography and understands what Dave is about. I am better at holding the umbrella stand and keeping if from being victim to the wind. He is compassionate too, and offers Susan warmth when the cold begins to pucker her flesh just a bit too much. We both do what we can to assist Susan along areas of little foot traction, or in quick costume changes that preserves one’s dignity.

Yet as I stand back and watch, I feel that I am the one being watched. True there are many visitors to Madame Sherri’s Forest, yet the prickling of my own flesh has little to do with the cold. Is it possible that there are active spirits here who still enjoy the lavish parties that progressed into wee hours of the morning? Or am I sensing residual activity, a haunting that will forever touch this place? It may be possible this is the very thing which brings us back here time and again.

See Dave’s photos here.
View my photographic record of the day here.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for the great article Pat. I really appreciated your help at the staircase shoot. I'll have to teach you how to adjust the speedlights next time!