So many happy birthdays. Yes, today, at 1.45 AM, 1934 I took my first breath. Oh yes, I am a flatlander who came to this state in 1947 with my mother, brother and sister. I knew the first day I was here that I had found my home. I felt it in my soul, I saw it in the sky and in the farmers who were my neighbors and I learned to love watching the clouds, snow drift down, skiing, hunting, fishing. Heaven! But deep within I had this feeling of Vermont, a sense of expanding freedom, of woods and streams and community. What a wonderful beginning.
This past year was a tough one. I saw, over the past 10 years, the collapse of the professional photograpy business, particularly for the international licensing of photographs through agencies. They changed the business model to the point we lost our income. Getty, who now has 17 million images in their library, bought up some of my back up agencies and began the royalty free business. This knockout punch was followed by the digital revolution and the smart phone and soon everyone was a photographer.
Many of those affected turned to another business or started seminars for serious amateurs and set up photo tours to distant destinations. I myself closed my website selling stock and set up, with the help of neighbor John Hadden, a new site directed to selling my best and iconic images, and mostly black and white, to collectors and people interested in my style of shooting. It is working, slowly, and is evolving. In the meantime, THANK YOU SO MUCH ALL YOU AT THE LOCAL FOOD SHELF. YOU ARE GRACIOUS AND SEEM TO REALIZE IT IS TOUGH TIMES FOR VERMONTERS AND US CREATIVE TYPE.
Yes, it is time to move ahead and because of the many Vermonters who wrote me, visited and called because of what I said in A Lifetime of Vermont People it finally zinged in my soul and I realized I had to do a book about this, which will be out by June and I call VANISHING VERMONTERS…LOSS OF A RURAL CULTURE. I have photographed and interviewed 20 people and have a few more to go. So this year I juggled doing the book and trying to survive in this expensive state. Very rough for most of us creatives.
Things came to a head this December; probably I pushed myself too hard so I ended up in the hospital with a nasty pneumonia virus. I am out now, on the mend, but it will take a while. My daughters, God Bless Them, have rented me a small apartment in Vero Beach, Florida, where I will exercise, get lots of sun, and important to me, write my book. So, with much help I have a plan, and I think this will be an important book. You will be reading about it on my blog. The Vermont books I have written are what I am supposed to do in this life time. My calling, that’s what it is.
Take care, all of you and thank you for remembering me. Peter