culture and cuisine of the neighborhood frasca began in Friuli, Italy. Frascas
were identified by a wreath of branches hanging over a farmhouse door, signifying
the sale of food and wine within. Often attached to a winery, the frasca provided
a pleasant and informal gathering place for family and friends to share a meal,
a bottle of wine and warm hospitality."
tree branch signifying hospitality"…If this is true, then what do home security
signs and rod iron gates represent? It seems that our society has shifted away
from "pleasant and informal" and is moving towards uptight and influenced.
it possible that Martha Stewart's Living has literally changed the way we live?
is, I believe, such a thing as knowing too much and getting things too fast. After
all, a smaller world creates larger expectations, and doesn't instant access eliminate
can all be rather stifling.
upon a time, there actually was a world where a neighbor might drop off a few
ripe tomatoes from his garden. He would stay (being asked to) and taste his neighbor's
wine (out of respect). There was no hurry, for the kid's activity schedules were--
well, they weren't. Once upon a time, a young couple would set up a few crates,
order in some pizza and have friends over to watch a game. Once upon a time, the
summer air carried the thick smoke of a standard charcoal grill.
was all before Harry and David delivered fresh produce, before Pottery Barn and
Restoration Hardware showed us how to decorate, before Frontgate exposed the almighty
Viking grill and the pretty people gathered around it. It was even before place
simplicity, graciousness. This is Frasca and I might add…it's refreshing.
commission to create the artwork, also brought the task of nurturing the ideals
remembered the rows of makeshift gardens I used to know as a child. These were
tiny plots of city-owned land rented out to local residents during the depression.
called them the Victory Gardens.
first visit back was in early spring. It was cold and the gardens were barren.
I imagined the owners surveying their tiny plots and shaking their heads the way
you do when there is work to be done. The gardens were separated by makeshift
fences. The gates were made out of old screens, discarded windows or plywood.
None were locked, but casually latched by anything from a ribbed collar of an
old t-shirt to an electrical cord freed from its lamp.
the spring, as I returned, items that seemed to serve no purpose began to make
sense. Like the broken crutch that was now firmly planted in the turned soil,
ready to support a returning fig tree that had been buried for the winter or the
twisted gutter that collected the spring rain and transported it to the wine barrel.
first time I met a gardener, I had to stop shooting to run to my car for a tablet
to write down his recipe for the sautéed fava beans and onions that I would be
bringing home that night.
visit back amazed me as I watched the gardens grow. The artfully rusted box spring
that separated two lots overflowed with clematis and became the loveliest trellis
I'd seen. A street sign supported the branch of a young peach tree. The rows of
cracked wooden hoes, rusted posts and broken handles that looked vulnerable in
my spring photos, now stood tall and proud as they supported healthy beefsteak
I would go through my images I would stare at the ingenuity of it all. The time.
The work. The ability to make something out of nothing. The devotion to a tiny
plot of city land. The fruits of labor. The graciousness of my subjects.
images are a testament to their craftsmanship. I hope they bring you on a journey
back to simplicity and leave your eyes open and your hearts full.