Sara and ginkgo

My friend Sara has a tattoo of ginkgo leaves on her right upper arm and shoulder. It’s delicate, natural, subtle. It seems as if it’s been there her whole life. Last month, I visited her in New York and we went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. As we were walking around I noticed a ginkgo tree and placed her under it to make this portrait of her. I asked her to describe her tattoo, and this is what she had to say:

“Throughout my life I have been told I have a good memory. This plagues me since both of my grandmothers have and had Alzheimer’s. The ginkgo represents memory, but it goes deeper than that. I have a background in landscape architecture and it is one of my favorite trees for its grace and beauty. It is one of the oldest on the planet and it does really well in urban polluted environments. It’s resilient. My inner arm that you can’t see is for my dog that I lost at the beginning of last year. For the public my tattoo is for beautiful memories and the inner arm is where I keep them close.”

Sara under ginkgo at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Sara under the ginkgo at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

New Voices for the Voiceless on

Over the weekend I shot some photos for a story on NPR about synthetic speech. This morning I was delighted to find the photo lead on the NPR homepage!

17-year-old Samantha Grimaldo was born without a voice, and relies on sign language and ipad and iphone apps to communicate. With the iphone app she uses, there are three voices to choose from, with only one being female. Fortunately, a speech scientist at Northeastern University, Rupal Patel, has been developing individuated synthetic voices for people like Samantha. Click on the image below to see photos of Samantha, and listen to the complete story on

Synthetic Speech

Lighthouse and ice cream

Work took me to Maine the other week. Along the way I stopped in York and saw the Nubble Light House and had my first taste of Brown’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream (peanut butter and chocolate).

Scully Estate, Islip, NY

This is where my friends, Sara and Aaron, got married this May. About a month before the wedding, we stopped by and looked around. Currently, the Scully Estate is an environmental center and also an historical building where tours of the nature center are given weekly. Though no one lives on the reserve now, but it still retains its yesteryear charm. Aaron lived part of his childhood here, so it was an especially sentimental place for them to exchange vows.

technicolor blooms

I didn’t get to DC for the cherry blossoms, so I had to make due with the blossoming trees here in Boston’s Public Garden (note: these images are not in their true, original color).

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