Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Don't Tell Ed.............."

©Dianne Poinski “Magnolias”

“Don’t tell Ed”………..that’s what my friend Renee said as we clumsily cut down the magnolia blossoms in this photograph. From the ladder she handed them to me while I said “thanks” and rushed home to photograph the delicate blossoms. There is a very small window of time before magnolias begin to wither and become very unphotogenic.

Renee (and her husband Ed) lived down the street and I think about what she said every time I drive by and see that tree (which I believe suffered a bit from our “pruning”).

The last time I had a best friend that lived down the street was when I was 6 years old. It felt much the same. Seeing each other almost every day, feeling comfortable enough in each other’s homes to open the refrigerator and look around, and occasionally even getting irritated with each other.

Renee was a very talented floral designer and greatly supported my photography. Besides climbing up trees, she also took me to the wholesale flower market and let me store the flowers in her professional cooler between photo shoots.

Renee was also sitting in my kitchen and was there to comfort me when I got the phone call that I my father was dying and that I should get on the next plane to North Carolina. When my mother died suddenly a few years later, she was there to finish and deliver corsages I had volunteered to make for all the girls in my daughter’s 8th grade graduating class - and her kids did not even go to the same school!

So you can probably imagine the despair and disbelief I felt when we learned in 2002 she had stage 4 cancer. She fought a brave battle but lost it in the fall of 2003, leaving behind two beautiful young daughters as well as a grieving husband.

Why am I telling you all this? Because Renee is the reason for this “project” I have been referring to for the last few months. After I recovered from the shock of her diagnosis, I decided that someday I would create a book of floral images to celebrate our friendship and her love of flowers (and maybe even raise a little money for cancer research).

This idea has been in my head for 8 years and it’s time to stop thinking about it and do it. The technology is now available to self publish such a book and if anybody has had any experience with this, I would love to hear about it.

So now you know why I have been shooting all these flowers and why I decided to take a little break from teaching workshops. I need you all to hold me accountable and I may even ask for a little editing help when the time comes. I will also use this blog to chronicle the process and keep you all up to date.

I feel a little nervous putting this out there, but it feels right (and now I know I have to do it!)


  1. Go for it Dianne. It's a great idea and I believe there is a workshop through Viewpoint about that subject. I was even thinking of checking it out. Although I think it's more for book binding. Good luck and finish it. Listen to me. The chief procrastinator.

  2. You go girl:) This will be a great tribute to a friend like Renee. I am excited at the prospect of watching this unfold. Please keep us posted on the artistic and technical issues in self publishing. I checked into it a few years ago for a children's illustrated book, but the technology wasn't affordable for a "picture book". Things are improving so rapidly in that arena the time should be right. I am volunteering to help edit or whatever you need.

  3. Sounds like a great project that can bring comfort and healing to many. The Magnolias photograph is a perfect start.

  4. Thanks everyone! I also appreciate all the emails offering suggestions and encouragement I received. Thanks!