When I developed my rolls of film and saw that the negatives were poorly exposed and scratched, I set them aside and abandoned the idea of making conventional photographic prints. Nevertheless, for months after I’d seen her I continued to think about the bird lady and how watching her had sustained me during a difficult time.
In August I opened our newspaper, saw this picture and recognized the woman immediately.
I learned her name, read her words and then wrote a letter to the editor to record my gratitude.
After my letter was published I began what has become a lifelong project.
Her words, “The birds are always hungry”, express the essence of Lavina’s motivation. Through her daily ritual, feeding the birds, I see her as the personification of altruism.
For over four decades, using a variety of media, and eventually digital technology, I’ve continued to explore the meaning I find in Lavina’s Gift.
Click on the newspaper to learn more about the project.