Leslie Lawrence’s photograph appeared on the cover of the Winter 2010 issue of Signs (volume 35, number 2), the “Women in Agriculture” special issue edited by Carolyn Sachs and Margaret Alston.
In the winter of 2008–9, I traveled with my son, sister, and nephew to India. Driving from Agra to Jaipur we passed these women harvesting chili peppers. The women were happy to chat with us in whatever shared language of words or gestures we could find, and when I asked if they minded if I took a photo, they were happy to oblige. I took this picture with an old-fashioned point-and-shoot film camera. I like to take photos very quickly. I’m not sure why, but it strikes me as a kind of spiritual exercise—how open can I be to the moment, how present, how daring? I enjoy the challenge probably for the same reason I love improvisational dance and theater. © 2009 by Leslie Lawrence. Permission to reprint can be obtained only from the artist.
Leslie Lawrence identifies primarily as a writer of fiction and memoir. Her essay “On the Mowing,” about her connection with a greenish/golden field in New Hampshire, can be found at here. Lawrence has been working on a long essay about her aesthetic education—about learning to see, draw, dance, and write—and about how each art form informs the others. An adjunct professor of writing at Tufts University, she also teaches writing workshops in her home.