“Get Back”, Linda McCartney, and finding a new art

“McCartney has a formidable acuity of gaze, but her pictures eschew the perfectionism of a photographer like him [Henri Cartier-Bresson] for something that embraces instead the informal, accidental beauty of lived experience.”

from the introduction to “The Polaroid Diaries”

After catching small glimpses of Linda Eastman (later McCartney, of course) in “The Beatles: Get Back” I became smitten with her work. And reading more, her whole way of looking at the world, whether through a lens or not. Particularly mesmerizing are her Polaroid transfers. Misty and muted; enchanted, as though what she’s seeing is just beyond the Veil.

Simple subjects.

–a winter rose.

–scattered maples leaves on a wooden walkway.


Utterly breathtaking.

McCartney captured the extraordinary magic of ordinary moments.

Her daughter Mary says, “She’d always just be looking for everyday moments that interested her rather than manicured scenes. She wanted real moments.”

I wanted to try it myself, but I don’t have a Polaroid camera. So…I improvised.

My first successful attempt. Thistle field on 9×12 watercolor paper.
Trumpet creeper on a wooden bridge. 9×12 watercolor paper.
Reaching for the sun. 9×12 watercolor paper.
Tufted titmouse. 6×9 watercolor paper
Milk thistle. 9×12 watercolor paper. Perhaps my favorite piece so far. That wonderful rainbow of color wasn’t present in the original photo, but appeared in printing. The transfer process really brought it out.

And there is my new art.


Today’s #AparTogether poetry challenge prompt was to write an acrostic poem. This one fell into my consciousness as I sat on the porch this morning. It seems to be reflective of my mood in these days of social distancing and isolation.

Let the birdsong heal your heart
in the moments of your grief, as
silence echoes loss, let
the river whisper peace, and
enter your broken sorrow–
narcotics for your soul.


©stephanie pepper, 2020

Tuesday morning I left the house

Tuesday morning I left the house
and when I returned after a short time
the top half (or maybe the bottom) of a bright
blue eggshell lay on the third porch step.
If it was there when I left those 40 minutes prior

I did not notice, my mind engaged
as it was on sunglasses, and earbuds,
and music for running. But there, now,
in the center of the concrete step,
the freshly vacated remnants that housed

a life lay curved side to the sun. Robin egg
blue, a color itself, and aptly so, for it needs
no qualifier or extra words. And for three days–
from Tuesday until Friday afternoon,
it lay undisturbed in the middle of

the step, as he and I came and went,
came and went, carrying in bags of groceries,
a pizza, the mail, and carrying out garbage and waste.
It lay as if encased in a protective bubble–a shell perhaps,
until this afternoon I came in again and

up the step, pausing, as had become my habit
these three days, to observe how perfectly it lay.
My shoulders sank as I saw it crushed. I was so careful and
had not felt it under my foot as I descended the steps,
but could my sneakered foot have struck the blow

and I so unaware? Before me lay
the fragments scattered and ground fine
by a foot. Now I think, and maybe aloud,
it is solace, shell, that your one-time tenant
broke her lease and she now resides in a

fine new nest of twigs and grass, bound
by hundreds of beaksful of mud, somewhere near–
in the eaves of the house, or a tree nearby, and
feeds from her father’s beak on worms and bugs,
moving through life from one fragile dwelling to another.

©stephanie pepper, 2019