September 17, 2019

Trustom Pond

By John Hafey’68
The Ridge Press, 2016

Cover of “Trustom Pond” by John Hafey’68.

This artist’s edition of black-and-white photographs, accompanied by poems written by Elizabeth Cleary, features as its subject Trustom Pond, a place along the southern Rhode Island shoreline that John Hafey’68 calls “the only totally undeveloped and therefore largely pristine salt pond on the southern New England coast.” The book initially accompanied an exhibition of about 60 pigment prints that have been shown in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania. Salt ponds like Trustom are remnants of glaciers that twice stretched into this area, leaving behind kettle ponds. Since 1974, the Department of the Interior, Fish & Wildlife Service has kept this land as a refuge of 787 acres of wildlife habitat. Hafey is currently working on a book of photographs and an exhibition focused on Delaware Park, Frederick Law Olmsted’s masterpiece, located in Buffalo, N.Y.

From the prologue:

Trustom Pond is a unique confluence of land, water, and atmosphere. It is not a dramatic and overpowering landscape like Yellowstone or Yosemite, but a small, quiet world, more a metaphor for the nature and character of this southern New England region before it became a popular destination for settlement and recreation.

This confluence of the elements, land, water, and atmosphere is timeless. The waves have been washing up and over the barrier beach into the pond for thousands of years. Clouds have been scribbling notes in the sky and birds navigating the flyway north and south long before anyone thought to call them stratocumulus or categorize them by species. ….


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