Dear Friends,

Greetings of the winter season and some signs of spring already. A few days of rain, at last, daffodils are out and snow is in the Sierra. We can breathe for a while. Time to look back at last year and forward to this one, now well underway.

For me 2011 was a year for new adventure: writing, producing and directing a short film to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fire of 1991 under The Phoenix Firestorm Project. The title of the film is Fire Ruin Renewal. It is 23 minutes in length, just right for viewing on the TV or computer, in the museum or at a community meeting.

My last web newsletter was sent in October 2011 when the film was completed. It included the trailer of the film and lots of other information. It was all about the film, the obsession of the year. By now it has been screened here many times for all sorts of events and groups. It will be used at a Rotary conference on disaster and survival in March, and will go with me to my Smith College reunion in May to be shared with Alumnae.

I know you are curious to know more so I have opened a blog just for the film on my website:
On the blog you can read testimonials and keep up with the activities that the film is generating: screenings and festivals and much more.

Happy 2012! I sent out a simple email to greet the New Year and found that it did not always send the image of me and adorable grandchild Frederick Mitchell Dowling, taken in September by his Aunt Anne. Since I am in love with both the baby and the image of him, (and in case you missed it) here it is again:

I hope that you enjoy it as much as I enjoy my time with master Frederick. (I am trying not to call him Freddy!)

A New Year brings exciting work in the form of Books to Love, my “new” service producing books for private clients. I have been offering this very special collaboration to satisfied clients since 2006 when it started with a series of books on gardens. I am still gladly photographing wonderful gardens and making them into treasure books that reflect the subject. But I am now working on all different kinds of projects for clients from coast to coast to help them obtain the book they envision without the pain of producing it themselves. Let’s talk about your project.


   Portrait of Sheila Best.

The portrait season for 2012. I am doing more digital heads for the web, the program I call Face to Face. You can see some of these wonderful heads here:

Please remember that I will always produce the exquisite black and white portrait study, and eagerly accept commissions from discriminating clients who value this classic form of fine photography. I have always loved to work with natural light, especially north light, which is the traditional light of the painter’s studio. There are many special places in the garden where I have landscape backgrounds for family portraits. However, you can find us inside, happily exploring the possibilities of studio lighting. For those of you who live nearby, do call to book a portrait for a date in the spring that suits your schedule. Come and see what a pleasure it is to share a lovely afternoon of photography.

I want to share a few comments from over the years. I have quite a collection from the years of working with so many special people. It is always an honor to document families.

Mallin Family portrait.

“Those large pictures of the boys look great. We’ve had so many compliments on the photography of our family.”
—Virginia Schwab Davis

“How I treasure the photographs you have taken of Kyra and Stephen. I cried when I opened them. You have perfectly captured that lovely young daughter of mine with that eye of yours. I am so grateful and, of course, I love it that we have the continuity of your work from her childhood. It means more to me than I can say.”
—Jebba Handley

With all good wishes for the year ahead,

Margaretta K. Mitchell

Link to the firestorm blog