Next up in our series on Atelier 32 artists, Edie Clifford. Her series, Walter Baker Chocolate Mills has a long memory for Edie and the surrounding Milton, Massachusetts community. Exploring not only her community, but a new camera during the pandemic times we live in gave Edie a new view of how to document the world we now find ourselves in. We asked Edie about her work and experience in the Atelier.
Which of these images was the impetus for this series? How did it inform how you completed the series?
This was the first image I took with my new infrared camera in spring 2019. It showed me how I could photograph the mills with a different look.
About the Walter Baker Chocolate Mills –
Architecture is to be regarded by
Us with the most serious thought.
We may live without her and
Worship without her, but we
Cannot remember without her.
When I walk through the Walter Baker Chocolate Mill Complex in Milton/Dorchester Lower Mills, MA, my memories are filled with the smell of chocolate. I grew up in Milton in the 1940s-1960s and these imposing brick buildings that were built by my great great uncle in the late 19th century along the Lower Falls of the Neponset River were part of my childhood adventures.
I remember the taste of the broken chocolate pieces that were left in pots outside the Webb and Pierce Mills. I remember the rushing sound of the river as it tumbled over the dam and transformed into millraces, the water channels that led to the former water wheels. And I remember the sight of the trolley as it came around the bend to Milton station that was opposite the storehouses. I now understand that this complex was the beginning of my appreciation for architecture and how it anchors me in my life. The mills not only help me to remember but offer a sense of place today.
I photographed the complex during the spring of 2019 and 2020. I chose black and white infrared to capture the beauty of these architect-designed buildings within their river environment. Infrared allows for deeply contrasted images. It creates an otherworldly feeling with dark sky and water and white foliage and clouds, offering an alternative interpretation of this historic complex as it stands today converted to condominiums.
The Atelier offered me a creative and supportive atmosphere to become aware .. of what I most love to photograph, the techniques I want to use and how to put the resulting images into panel or story. All this in COVID spring … I am grateful!
Tell us what is next for you creatively.
I will continue to photograph the man-made environment with my infrared camera but also with my new Fuji X4 which offers multiple-exposure and blending mode features.
About Edie Clifford –
Edie Clifford is a Boston-based photographer grounded in the man-made environment, from a fence lining a country road to historic and contemporary structures to architectural abstracts. Her photography has been influenced by her work in the field of historical preservation and her love of travel. She is drawn to studying the built environment developed by a variety of cultures both at home and abroad.
Edie shoots both in color and black and white. She uses photography as a mindful practice and enjoys experimenting with infrared, multiple exposures and abstracts to become aware of the present. Recent series include: Baker Chocolate Mills, Modernist and Brutalist Architecture, Massachusetts and London, and The Telegraph Road: A Journey through the deserts and mountains of California, Nevada and Arizona.
Her work has been included at exhibitions at the Oxo Gallery (London), Plymouth Center for the Arts (Plymouth, MA), and Tower Hill Botanical Garden (Boylston, MA).