The New England Image
The New England Image
The image of New England is a composite of many things--white clapboards in the sunlight, arching elms shading a village street, the pointed spire of an old white church against a clear blue sky. It is found in the silver shingles of Cape Cod, weathered by wind and salt spray, in the curving crescents of sandy beaches, and the clustered masts of fishing boats in Gloucester Harbor. It is reflected in quiet lakes and ponds hidden in the folds of hills and mountains, in the waters of brooks and rivers finding their way to the sea. It is echoed in the austere tones of Cotton Mather calling down through the centuries, and in the beautiful words of Emerson speaking in a Concord church. The poetry of Anne Bradstreet, written three centuries ago in Andover, is filled with praise of this same New England, and the words of those who followed her--Long- fellow, Whittier, Lowell, Holmes, Robert Frost--carry the image down through the years.
Beyond question, the artistry of poets surpasses that of photography, a relative newcomer to the New England scene. Yet the observant camera has its own clear interpretation, its own way of telling the story. In the pages that follow, the inquisitive and sympathetic lens will, we hope, capture the essence of this unique corner of our country.
Good pictures have a way of speaking for themselves without fine phrases from their author, and it is with some trepidation that these brief words of introduction have been set down. My alert lens is far more eloquent than my reluctant typewriter, and far better equipped to evoke the New England image, a most elusive phenomenon that I have been pursuing for the past quarter century and more. This book is a condensation of those years of photographing the six New England states in the four seasons of the year. Many of these photographs have never been reproduced before, but scores of others have been chosen from the long list of illustrated books and calendars that have been published by Hastings House during the past twenty-five years.
Perhaps I should begin by recounting the circumstances that launched Hastings House as publishers. It began in the office of the Architectural Book Publishing Company in New York one day in 1935. I had come in for news of my proposed book on small New England houses . . .