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I Hope You Find What You're Looking For by Gloria Baker Feinstein

Posted on November 30, -0001 - By Sandrine Hermand-Grisel
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I Hope You Find What You
I Hope You Find What You
Nowadays who really looks forward to opening their mailbox? Let's be honest, no ones writes anymore and when you have a letter in the mail, it is either a bill or an unwanted commercial. Yet, sometimes there are surprises, and I felt like a little girl when I received the unexpected gift from Gloria Baker Feinstein. I must confess I was not familiar with her work and it was with no prejudice what so ever that I opened her beautifully crafted book 'I Hope You Find What You're Looking For'.

Published by Yellow Bird Press, the 96 pages include 55 B/W Duotones, essays by Douglas Beasley, Julian Anderson and Gloria Baker Feinstein as well as beautiful poems by Kim Stafford, Oregon's former poet laureate.

Gloria Baker Feinstein took snapshots of her life, playfully mixing dark and grays, in search of truth and hope in the grim years following the US 2016 elections. From her wanderings, she captured the poetry of moments spent with her grandchildren, their innocence and candor, as well as passersby from her neighborhood park.

This beautiful book, freed from all voyeurism, give us a glimpse of a universe of freedom, surprises, shared emotions.

I hope this book will remind you that looking and seeing can be two very different things. That we're all on a path of discovery. That if we can remember to slow down and take our time, we might actually figure out what it is we're looking for. That maybe, every now and then, we can even say we found it. And if not, perhaps we can simply realize that the process, the looking for the looking itself, might actually be, in the end, what it's all about.

Gloria Baker Feinstein

Windy Day, Hug Point, Oregon, 2020 © Gloria Baker Feinstein



Gloria Baker Feinstein

Leaf, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2015 © Gloria Baker Feinstein





Exactly one year ago, I decided to begin working on my 5th book of photographs.

I knew the title before I even started assembling the pictures. The first person I discussed it in depth with was my sister, at the beginning of week-long girl's getaway. I told her the title for the book would be I Hope You Found What You Were Looking For. She knows better than anyone that my life has been a journey of ''looking,'' that I've been using a camera for discovery and navigation for six decades. She listened patiently, with great interest, while I explained my concept for the book, and she gave me immediate support and encouragement. The only thing that bothered her, she admitted, was the use of the past tense in the title. But you're still looking, right?

Of course, she's right. I realized at that moment just how dark and pessimistic my thoughts about the future had become. The past few years have taken their toll.

Before we fell asleep that night, I told my sister I'd give some thought to changing the verbs in the book title from found to find and were to are. The next morning I took a meditative sunrise hike on Mt. Kuchamaa a mountain long regarded as sacred by Native Americans and a special retreat for my sister and me in Tecate, Mexico. The spiritual quality of the mountain has long been described by Natives as a place where you get your power. On my hike that morning, my thoughts about the book took hold, and the pages began to fan out on the trail in front of me. Something magical happened as the sun rose, and something inside me shifted. I suddenly knew I was on the right track - about the book and about myself - and with each quiet footstep, the path before me started to fill with hope and light. Letting the light in after such a dark period in our history felt not only important, but urgent.

(Later in the week I did a little research on the history of the mountain. I learned that Natives interpret the name Kuchamaa to mean ''the one that cures'' or ''the one that lifts up.)

I worked steadily on the book during the following months. It became a collection of 55 black and white photographs accompanied by Kim Stafford's poetry. Kim is a beloved Pacific Northwest writer who recently served a two-year term as Oregon's poet laureate.

For me, the poems and images serve as quiet meditations, similar to the footsteps I took that on that sunrise hike last September. They represent some of what I've found so far, but I am by no means finished looking.

- Gloria Baker Feinstein


Gloria Baker Feinstein

Hillside, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2016 © Gloria Baker Feinstein


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