‘The Shaker’s Brief Eternity’ is the fitting and eloquent title to the story writer Cathy Newman and I worked on together. It fits because the era of Shaker life in America was brief. It’s eloquent because interest in their lives and culture grows despite them being gone.
That interest grows because of the esthetics of their existence. Their phrase, ‘Hands to work, hearts to God’, summarizes their spiritual beliefs and their devotion to strong, clean, straightforward design, materials and construction. From their large meeting houses to their humble tools the Shakers created works that have lasted. Standing in a meeting house or holding a tool one feels a strong connection to their beliefs.
As a photographer I wanted to pay homage to their creations by not imposing myself. The only additive I gave to my images was atmospheric. Rain and fog, frost and snow were acceptable. Otherwise I worked in a stepped back and straightforward manner, letting the Shakers speak for themselves.