Early in 1975, I was living in Boston with my college girlfriend. I was working three jobs, seven days a week. One day was at Ferranti Dege’s camera store, where I’d worked while in college and which gave me discounts on photo supplies. One day was as a darkroom assistant to Constantine Manos, a well-established Boston photographer and generous mentor. Five days were at Cambridge Seven Associates, working in a four-to-five-person crew on a bicentennial multi-media show called Where’s Boston; I got to work there with Rusty Russell, a particular genius at that kind of presentation, especially in his handling of audio. In spite of my work schedule, my girlfriend and I still managed to get an occasional overnight at her family’s place, in Stonington, Connecticut. The photo above is of two of her three step-siblings.

When Where’s Boston was complete, my girlfriend and I went on a six week driving trip in the South East. We broke up after the trip—she became a therapist and eventually married a doctor, and I became a photographer and eventually married a sculptor—and we moved to New York separately that fall. Constantine was sympathetic and supportive during my transition out of a five-year relationship and my transition from little Boston to big New York, and he paved the way for me with an introduction to the Director of the library at Magnum Photos, a cooperative of which he was a member.


The first time I saw her was at a job interview. I’d applied at a photo library to be a researcher, and to my surprise, the librarian put me right to work. In an office too cramped for all its prints, slides, staff, and visiting photographers, I was asked to go through all the photos from a magazine assignment on Los Angeles and decide which to include in the library’s collection. As I spread the slides on a long light box, a woman emerged from a back room carrying a book of contact sheets. She had short brown hair, dark eyes in a round, intelligent face, and full breasts, braless under a thin jersey. It was impossible not to be distracted by her. She was full of energy and purpose, and as I took all this in, she gave me a jolt of pleasure when she aimed her smile straight at me. I got the job, and I got to see this woman every day. Her name was Mary Ann.

—Rock In A Landslide

Kelly Nowels