The Nature of Her Devotion

by Caryn Eve Murray on January 26, 2003 for New York Newsday

New York Newsday 1-26-03

Even in the dead of winter, Holly Gordon enjoys an endless springtime. That’s not because the photographer’s images evoke only spring and summer (they don’t). And not because she only visits warm-weather locales (she doesn’t). But because, having devoted her most recent years to photographing everything from a pinklupine landscape in New Zealand to Gardiner’s Park near her Bay Shore home, she is always entering a new seson in her life. “I am,” said Gordon, “constantly renewing myself.”

Taking Wing: Not unlike the butterflies she has photographed, which will be exhibited at the Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown this spring. Gordon underwent a transformation-from West Babylon art teacher to aspiring photo pro. In her work with natural subjects, she said, “I feel a sense of control, and I can call the shots and choose the angles and just focus in on an intimate vision of nature and me.”

Cold Comfort: Her ambition, as part of her global travels,is to photograph every species of her favorite animal: penguins. “They are so animated, so clumsy on land and so graceful in the water. They are just a riot.”

Easygoing Nature: Her husband, Saul, who died in 1996, was her greatest booster. Now the world’s creatures seem to ease her way: On a trip in 2000, she said, “Koala bears came out of the trees for me to photograph, and my guide couldn’t believe it.” In Costa Rica, a blue morpho butterfly landed on her camera after she’d fed it mashed bananas mixed with beer. “And they’re not known to be friendly.”

Eagle Eye: The day she saw bald eagles mating, she was out of film. “Sometimes,” she said, “I shoot things and they don’t come out. But it is so wonderful even to have seen it.”

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