Benjamin Swett

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Home Winds

Home Winds began as a commission to photograph the trees on the Michel family farm in Gladstone, NJ, before the family sold the property in 2015. At the invitation of Fritz, Jake, and Katie Michel, who had come up with the idea as a present for their mother Betsy, I visited the Home Winds farm six times in 2013-2014 and ended up making a far more extensive record of the trees and views than any of us had originally planned. Betsy Michel had preserved much of the property as agricultural land and it was home to an extensive collection of maples, beeches, lindens, black cherries, and dawn redwoods, many of them planted by Mrs. Michel and her late husband, Mickey. It happened that Katie Michel is an accomplished book designer, publisher, and New York City gallerist, and Katie conceived the idea of making a book from the photographs that, together with a song she would commission, could be used to promote environmental causes. At Katie’s request Heather Woods Broderick wrote and sent a demo of her beautiful song “Home Winds” and, shortly thereafter, a second song, “Shoreline.” Katie put photographs and song together in a stunning book that is bundled with a 7” vinyl of Heather’s music. The record was printed in late 2016 in the Czech Republic and the book in early 2017 in Verona, Italy, and both were released on April 28, 2017 in conjunction with the opening of a show of the photographs at Planthouse Gallery in Chelsea.

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