Atherton resident Leonore Horowitz describes herself as an explorer with a camera. “I love to see through the camera,” she says. “I love to meet people through the camera. You can’t just walk up to a person and take a photograph. You need to engage them. Then they relax and you can photograph them.”
We were visiting at the Stanford Women’s Health Center, where Lenore’s nature photos combined with her poetry are on exhibit. She’s equally passionate about photography and writing, and recalls her artistic journey:
“I’d photographed my children for 30 years without any training, but I loved it. When my fourth child left for college in 2001, I took photography classes at Foothill College where I had an inspirational teacher and met women like myself. Initially I used film, making the transition to digital photography as it was happening.
“I was writing a lot in the 90s. I taught at Menlo School as a volunteer teacher. My goal was to teach seniors in an honors English seminar how to write.
“When my fourth child was taking that course, he wanted to focus on George Elliot and Yeats, so we read Middlemarch and the complete poem of Yeats. It touched some kind of voice in me. I finished teaching and started writing for myself. I believed in the power of simple words and simple syntax.”
Many of Lenore’s photos are aerials taken over California. “There are such beautiful places to photograph,” she says. “You can fly hundreds of miles and not see the same things. Today the ocean was turquoise, and there were reflections of the hills in the Bay.”
Lenore says she’s consistently looking for new and exciting ways to combine her images and words: “The dance is to put them together. The poem is enhanced by the image and the image is deepened by the poem.
“I believe art should help people, move people. To make a beautiful photo and hang it on your wall, doesn’t do it for me. To take a beautiful photo and add poetry, that has the potential of changing people’s lives.”
Lenore’s photos and poem can be enjoyed on her website. Red Dress, Place Vendôme, photo and poem follows, (c) 2011 Lenore Horowitz; used with permission.
The red dress draws the eye,
with a simplicity of line
No mannequin defines it.
This dress will fit any woman
size 6, with the right plastic,
and an exclusive enough party at the Ritz.
and see the woman in the red dress
racing through the silk
across the ancient Place
like thousands, no millions before,
– silk weavers, seamstresses, mothers,
poets, patriots, pioneers –
no sleek limousine for this woman,
just one lone motorcycle waiting.
In full stride
she crosses centuries of silk,
swinging her arms free.
Photos of Lenore Horowitz by Scott R. Kline