Monday, April 23, 2018

Making Connections

Free Reception and Illustrated Talk by Xiomáro on Saturday,
May 19, 2018, 2-4 pm

It’s always a pleasure and honor for me to photograph the National Parks, especially historic houses like the Ford Mansion. In 2017, I was commissioned by Morristown National Historical Park to create images of the home for use in an accessibility book. The large format book will enable physically challenged visitors to “experience” the mansion – George Washington’s headquarters during the winter of 1779-1780 – through narrated photographs, which interpret the house as done on a visitor tour.

Floyd Kitchen hearth.
The project was of particular interest to me because it was a direct connection with another collection of photographs I created in 2013: the William Floyd Estate in Mastic, Long Island.  General Floyd served in the first Continental Congress in 1774 and is a signer of the Declaration of Independence. By the late 1770s, the British occupied Long Island and Floyd had to escape to Connecticut. He returned to a ransacked house, which he restored to receive visitors such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other notable guests. Unlike the Ford Mansion, Floyd’s sprawling 25 room house was continuously occupied by his descendants up until 1976 when it was donated to the National Park Service as part of Fire Island National Seashore.

The Floyd collection was created to draw more attention to the estate and the little-known Founding Father represented by it.  That is one of the aspects of my work that I find most fulfilling:  making photographs that serve as goodwill ambassadors to raise awareness of smaller northeastern sites, which are often overshadowed by larger western parks such as the Grand Canyon.  With the support of Fire Island, the Floyd photographs have been exhibited and garnered much media attention.

Ford Mansion kitchen hearth.
I share that intent with the Ford Mansion. The photographs of Washington’s headquarters are on display at the museum now until December 28, 2018. The exhibition was curated by Jude M. Pfister, the park’s Chief of Cultural Resources. It is pleasing to know that the images raise awareness of “the Ford Mansion’s essence as a home," as noted by Jude, because "the domestic aspects are easily lost in the presence of Washington.”
These overarching themes in my work, as well as my aesthetic and techniques, will be addressed during my free illustrated talk during a reception at the museum on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. To place the Ford Mansion photographs in context, I will use PowerPoint to show select images I have created for other parks over the past six years. 

Traveling Medicine Chest, Floyd Estate.

As I think you will see from the presentation I will make, there are interesting connections to be made between these parks. We are fortunate that the pages of history can come alive by visiting the Ford Mansion, the William Floyd Estate, and other related sites that form a tapestry of our nation’s founding. 

Traveling Liquor Box,
Morristown NHP Collection.

I hope to see you there with your friends.  To promote a greater understanding of the home that served as Washington’s headquarters, I will be giving away a copy of Jude’s award-winning book, The Jacob Ford Jr. Mansion:  The Storied History of a New Jersey Home (The History Press, 2009).  I will also be giving away a 5”x7” photographic print from the exhibit.

In the meantime, for more information about my work and to see my other collections and videos, visit where you can also download a free photo eBook on the Ford Mansion.

This blog entry by Xiomáro.

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