- Carolyn Blackwood
When Carolyn Marks Blackwood bought a small house in Rhinecliff on a bluff overlooking the Hudson two-and-a-half years ago, she began training her camera on the river. Blackwood, a screenwriter and producer (her production company, Magnolia Mae Films, produced The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley, which was up for an Oscar as we went to press), had been snapping photos for years, but it wasn’t until she was asked to participate in an exhibition at the Morton Library in Rhinecliff that she began to think of herself as a photographer. Her photos were spotted New York City curator and critic Barbara Rose, who invited her to show her work as part of a group show in Manhattan. “My career in photography is analogous to playing softball with friends in a Rhinebeck park and being asked by a scout for the New York Yankees if I would like to play in the World Series,” says Blackwood.
A dedicated river chronicler, Blackwood has spent many hours on the river in the past year, both on patrol with Riverkeeper and also aboard the Coast Guard icebreaker Penobscot Bay. In her photos you can see the changing moods of the river, whether its sheets of ice piled on top of each other like so many torn storefront windows, or a lighthouse peering out through a fog bank. Sometimes the river’s landscape changes more rapidly than she can document. After photographing the ice breaking up last March one afternoon (“it sounded like thousands of panes of glass breaking”), Blackwood returned the next day to find that the ice had melted. “I had to wait a whole year for the ice to return,” says Blackwood. The river, endlessly flowing, counsels patience.
After years in the movie business, Blackwood finds photography a welcome contrast. “Photography is such a joyful thing as I don’t depend on anyone but myself. In the movie business, you’re dependent on other people,” says Blackwood. “One is dependent on so many people when producing a film—and on huge amounts of money granted by other people. Photography is much more like writing for me. I am dependent solely on myself.” Blackwood’s photographs will be exhibited in the Alan Klotz Gallery booth at the Association of International Photography Art Dealers show March 25 through 29 at the Park Avenue Armory. This summer, Blackwood will have a solo show of her Hudson River themed work at the Hudson Opera House (June 13 to August 15) as part of the Quadricentennial celebration of Henry Hudson’s voyage.