Deborah Strod Photographic Exhibition in Lexington
My friend Deborah Strod, a photographer and writer, has her first one-woman show at the Pierce Gallery, at the Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420. I hadn’t seen Deborah for years so I welcomed the chance to view what turned out to be highly impressive photographs.
Much of Strod’s work is both local to Lexington, and universal in its minute examination of the molecules of everyday life. This mother of children is able to extract with her lens the concealed beauty in the mundane while chauffeuring and nurturing youngsters. She includes the insects her kids spy on their walks, the luminescent grasses in the sun, the mesmerizing eye of a zebra and the unique sandbars of Eastham beach’s low tide.
In this Lexington exhibition each photo is accompanied by a slice-of-life explanatory caption. Some of the shots have turned the familiar into a seductive texture or an irresistibly decorative pattern. The written explanations ground us in the process and the everyday environment of the artist.
The effervescent “Bubbles in Jello”, Strod tells the viewer, was taken just before the Jello went into the refrigerator in her Lexington home. A cascade of shimmery blobs across the page is called “Raindrops”. It was taken of the windshield from inside her Prius while she was waiting to pick up one of her children from school. And my favorite, “Face in Paint”, reveals the smiling image she saw when looking up at the peeling paint of the ceiling in her father’s sunroom.
And now to full disclosure of the back story. When I came back to Boston in 2000 after decades away, I still had a few strong contacts, not the least Professor Robert S. Cohen, a radical physicist and a philosopher who in the 1960s taught me to think. As my professor at Boston University, Bob turned me on to Marxism and together in 1967 we began thinking about the economic implications of sexism (before that word was coined).
No matter where I lived abroad, he visited me. When I wrote my MA thesis in a different university in another country 18 years later, I dedicated it to him. Now that I’m in the same town, he comes to my birthday parties. But in 2000, he suggested I get together with his youngest child, Deborah. She in turn invited me to join the writing group she was in and, among those accomplished writers, we got to know each other through our words.
When I sat down to write my novel about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Above The Belt, I asked if she would be my first reader. She became my first editor. Chapter by chapter, as I completed them, she searched for misspellings and character inconsistencies with an innate but insightful skill. (Years later, my agent is now shopping the book to publishers.)
We lost touch over a number of years so it was a thrill to see her talent shine in the wonderful images in this show. They are so, well… brilliantly edited. But unlike my novel, the editing happens prior, she says, to the photos being shot. New talent discovered close to home is always a special treat, so consider visiting her show, on display till the end of March.
Deborah Strod's work can be viewed at
And check out Sue Katz's blog at http://www.suekatz.typepad.com/.