WESTPORT, Conn. - Tanglewood has been the pre-eminent summer music festival of the Northeast for decades, and Westport photographer Sandi Haber Fifield is helping the iconic, Lenox, Mass.–based institution celebrate its 75th birthday this year. She was chosen to create the celebratory photographic image to commemorate Tanglewood's chronological milestone.
Haber Fifield – who took her first photography class at age 15 – received her master's in fine arts in 1981 from Rochester Institute of Technology. “I’ve been working in the field ever since,” she said.
And she has an impressive list of institutions to underscore that statement. Her photographs have been included in exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the DeCordova Museum, the Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum, the Southeast Museum of Photography and the St. Louis Art Museum. Her work is also held in the Library of Congress, and she is represented by the Rick Wester Fine Art gallery in New York City and by Gallery Kayafas in Boston. She has published two books, “Walking Through the World,” and “Between Planting and Picking,” and her latest, “After the Threshold,” will be available in early 2013.
The Tanglewood project, she said, was little more than good fortune. A committee from The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which calls Tanglewood home every summer, approached Haber Fifield about creating an image for the 75th anniversary. After seeing her work they chose to commission a piece from her. “How lucky was that?” she said.
But as far as being chosen for this project, her unique artistry trumps the likelihood of luck: Tanglewood has a rich history of supporting artists, and Haber Fifield is in fine company among them.
Her work, she said, often incorporates memory, as well as landscape. “I realized they were looking for a piece that brings to mind the past but that also looks forward to the future,” she said.
Haber Fifield visited Tanglewood a few times to shoot the grounds to create the combination of images that evoked what she calls “the spectacular Tanglewood environment.”
She focused on the famous landscape, and was eager for those natural elements to suggest the spirit of music.
“Although I haven’t attended Tanglewood, I spent many summers listening to music on Central Park's Great Lawn and at Westport's Levitt Pavilion," she said. "Places such as these have a common purpose, which is to bring people together under the umbrella of music on sprawling lawns in summer evenings.”
She said she looks forward to attending Tanglewood “to hear Beethoven trickle through the summer breeze.” The image is yet another of Haber Fifield's pictures that is worth more than a thousand words.