Second Acts – The Martha’s Vineyard Times

Is it anything in the air we breathe? Or the light-weight that shines listed here? Is it actually remaining an island, floating freely away from the constraints of the mainland? Is there something that is inherently Martha’s Vineyard that fosters the independence to go after our other selves — our abilities, drives, and passons — our next functions? The fisherman who gets to be an oil painter. The financial investment advisor, a bird watcher. The medical professional, a novelist. The mechanical engineer turned blacksmith. The dock builder, a poet. 

Does it transpire far more frequently here? Anecdotally, it appears to be so. Empirically, who is aware of? In this occasional collection, we will check out the minds and passions of Vineyarders who undertaking into 2nd acts. And we will test to come across out the why behind the what. 

Bob Avakian came to Martha’s Winery with his then girlfriend, now wife, for a summertime job in the ’70s, and simply never remaining — a acquainted Winery tale. “Even to this working day, I don’t know the place else I would go. The place else would I want to live?” he suggests. What commenced as portion-time development work developed into Vineyard Development LLC, a person of the premier making organizations on the Island, renowned for crafting meticulously manufactured, stunning houses, from Edgartown to Chilmark to Aquinnah. A fairy-tale accomplishment tale.

Of system, there are no fairy tales devoid of dim moments. The bubble burst, actually, with the recession of 2008. Before long after, Bob’s ageing aunt and uncle on the mainland essential his aid. For the upcoming few several years, weekly, in some cases everyday, he commuted again and forth to have a tendency to his aunt and uncle, even though someway making an attempt to keep his setting up company afloat. 

“I begun going up there a ton, and I was truly burning out,” he remembers. But what Bob had was time — time on the boat, time to generate, time to feel. Time for an additional type of expression to develop, so to converse. An early desire in photography was rekindled. Bob would just take the initially ferry of the working day, check on his aunt and uncle, get their groceries, chat to their nurses and doctors, and then obtain respite in a images class. Then he’d return on the very last ferry. On the way, he observed the improve from dark to dawn. On the return, the sunset offering way to night. He watched what the progression of light-weight did to photos, and he set out to capture it. 

Bob began to shoot what are termed very long exposures, minimal-light pictures. At 4 am, as early morning breaks via, or at dusk, waiting for darkness, he lookups for a shot — a fishing boat in Menemsha, the moon around an open area, the curve of a highway to an aging barn. “I walk all over. It is like a walking meditation. You slow down and truly start out to see things, matters you really don’t see ordinarily,” Bob suggests.

He sets up his tripod, and then waits … as the picture evolves: the opposite of snapshots — as extended as five or 6 minutes of exposure. Painting with mild.

What started as his personalized exploration is now awardwinning, gallery-featured artwork, exhibited from 1 finish of the Island to the other, and off-Island and all-around the entire world. The building enterprise arrived again larger than at any time — his son Derek now runs it — but increasingly Bob has found his heart driving the digital camera. 

Could Bob have uncovered his passion if he lived someplace else? “If I was not dwelling in this article, would this have transpired? There’s anything very peaceful about the Winery, and incredibly risk-free,” he suggests. So Bob can get up in the predawn darkness to locate that up coming elusive image. 

“I assume my only panic in accomplishing what I do is a skunk. I’m in the middle of the road above by Dutcher’s bridge. And I see a skunk coming … and he starts off crossing the bridge, and I’m not transferring. And he turns 90° and walks correct driving me … and heads towards the fish sector. And I get my shot.”

Quiet and safe and sound. That is extra than a assertion of protection it looks to be a condition of intellect. Possibly which is what Martha’s Winery gives us. That, and of class, skunks.


Barbara Reynolds is, in her personal words and phrases, “a lifelong teacher.” In every feeling, for much more than 30 yrs, at the Edgartown University, in the classroom, as a examining expert, teaching English as a next language, tutoring — even mahjong and canasta — and instructing on Zoom for the duration of the pandemic.

As a instructor, you have a ton of bosses — principals, administrators, dad and mom, even the learners, since without their engagement, you have no occupation. When Barbara approached retirement, she experienced no thought what she would do with her time, considering the fact that she would no more time have a boss or bosses. 

The good liberty and potentially terrific fear was, Now what do I do, and for whom? Volunteer operate? Yet another work? Work in an Island shop? Or probably study a lot more, cook dinner extra, vacation additional? Or choose photos? 

“I’ve generally been the individual guiding a digicam … when my father gave me a small Brownie digital camera, or with an Instamatic on holiday vacation, using all the shots of the loved ones,” she says. When spring arrived, as she’d done several springs before, she wandered out into her yard to consider images of her husband’s yard. But now she was drawn a minor nearer to the bouquets, the hues and element. “I took some pictures of bouquets and … purchased some all set-designed cardstock and some double-adhere tape,” and produced a card to send out to a mate. And then a different. And a different.

She put a box of image playing cards out at her hairdresser’s shop. They marketed out, and the hairdresser asked for more. A buddy who has a shop in Winery Haven displayed them, and they offered out. She didn’t know it at the time, but Barbara Reynolds Photography was born. Islanders and readers identified the images captured the elegance of the Island with simplicity and grace. From blue hydrangeas to morning seascapes and landscapes, lighthouses, the Cliffs, mist around a golf system, endless rock formations. All images that spoke to the Vineyard. Extra and additional retailers requested to carry them. Buyers requested for boxed sets. As opposed to standard greeting playing cards, listed here the sentiment was the image she’d captured on movie, and senders could compose their personal message to match the celebration. The photographs are so evocative, she now sells much larger prints for framing. 

Barbara understood nothing about business. Or inventory. Or billing. Or transport. Or seasonal desire. Or even how substantially to cost. But she discovered. In a sense, she went from instructor to pupil. And ideal of all, she is her personal boss. Barbara reviews to Barbara. Where will her photographer’s eye consider her? How massive will the business get? “The attractiveness of what I do is … it is pleasurable. It’s a work mainly because I place a ton of hrs into it, but it’s a task in which I’m my personal manager. I can determine how tricky I want to operate and how very long I want to perform.” She suggests she enjoys not understanding in which it may just take her. “Who is familiar with? It is up to me.” 

That’s a image, so to speak, of two Islanders who have found their other selves driving a digital camera. They solution their art quite differently, but they pursue their next functions likewise — to fulfill them selves, their very own interests, and their passions. Could it have took place somewhere else? Who appreciates? But it did occur listed here, on Martha’s Winery.

We invite you to send us feelings on other Vineyarders who have observed their other selves, the subsequent Second Act to aspect on these pages. Send thoughts to [email protected]. 

Jim Dale is a nonfiction author who has co-authored textbooks on topics ranging from athletics to enterprise to drugs to politics, most a short while ago the memoir “We’re Better Than This,” with the late Congressman Elijah Cummings.

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