Second Acts – The Martha’s Winery Instances

Is it something within the air we breathe? Or the lightweight that shines listed right here? Is it really remaining an island, floating freely away from the constraints of the mainland? Is there one thing that’s inherently Martha’s Winery that fosters the independence to go after our different selves — our skills, drives, and passons — our subsequent capabilities? The fisherman who will get to be an oil painter. The monetary funding advisor, a fowl watcher. The medical skilled, a novelist. The mechanical engineer turned blacksmith. The dock builder, a poet. 

Does it transpire way more continuously right here? Anecdotally, it seems to be so. Empirically, who’s conscious of? On this occasional assortment, we are going to try the minds and passions of Vineyarders who endeavor into 2nd acts. And we are going to check to come back throughout out the why behind the what. 

Bob Avakian got here to Martha’s Vineyard together with his then girlfriend, now spouse, for a summertime job within the ’70s, and easily by no means remaining — a acquainted Vineyard story. “Even to this working day, I don’t know the place else I might go. The place else would I need to stay?” he suggests. What commenced as portion-time improvement work developed into Winery Growth LLC, an individual of the premier making organizations on the Island, famend for crafting meticulously manufactured, beautiful homes, from Edgartown to Chilmark to Aquinnah. A fairy-tale accomplishment story.

Of system, there aren’t any fairy tales devoid of dim moments. The bubble burst, really, with the recession of 2008. Earlier than lengthy after, Bob’s ageing aunt and uncle on the mainland important his support. For the upcoming few a number of years, weekly, in some circumstances on a regular basis, he commuted once more and forth to generally tend to his aunt and uncle, despite the fact that someway attempting to maintain his establishing firm afloat. 

“I begun going up there a ton, and I used to be actually burning out,” he remembers. However what Bob had was time — time on the boat, time to generate, time to really feel. Time for a further kind of expression to develop, so to converse. An early need in images was rekindled. Bob would simply take the initially ferry of the working day, verify on his aunt and uncle, get their groceries, chat to their nurses and medical doctors, after which acquire respite in a pictures class. Then he’d return on the final ferry. On the best way, he noticed the enhance from darkish to daybreak. On the return, the sundown providing approach to night time. He watched what the development of lightweight did to photographs, and he got down to seize it. 

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Bob started to shoot what are termed very lengthy exposures, minimal-light photos. At 4 am, as early morning breaks through, or at nightfall, ready for darkness, he lookups for a shot — a fishing boat in Menemsha, the moon round an open space, the curve of a freeway to an growing old barn. “I stroll throughout. It is sort of a strolling meditation. You decelerate and actually begin out to see issues, issues you actually don’t see ordinarily,” Bob suggests.

He units up his tripod, after which waits … as the image evolves: the alternative of snapshots — as prolonged as 5 or 6 minutes of publicity. Portray with gentle.

What began as his customized exploration is now awardwinning, gallery-featured art work, exhibited from 1 end of the Island to the opposite, and off-Island and all-around your complete world. The constructing enterprise arrived once more bigger than at any time — his son Derek now runs it — however more and more Bob has discovered his coronary heart driving the digital digicam. 

May Bob have uncovered his ardour if he lived someplace else? “If I used to be not dwelling on this article, would this have transpired? There’s something very peaceable concerning the Vineyard, and extremely risk-free,” he suggests. So Bob can rise up within the predawn darkness to find that up coming elusive picture. 

“I assume my solely panic in conducting what I do is a skunk. I’m in the midst of the street above by Dutcher’s bridge. And I see a skunk coming … and he begins off crossing the bridge, and I’m not transferring. And he turns 90° and walks appropriate driving me … and heads in direction of the fish sector. And I get my shot.”

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Quiet and protected and sound. That’s additional than a assertion of safety it appears to be a situation of mind. Probably which is what Martha’s Vineyard provides us. That, and of sophistication, skunks.


Barbara Reynolds is, in her private phrases and phrases, “a lifelong trainer.” In each feeling, for far more than 30 yrs, on the Edgartown College, within the classroom, as a inspecting skilled, instructing English as a subsequent language, tutoring — even mahjong and canasta — and instructing on Zoom during the pandemic.

As a teacher, you’ve got a ton of bosses — principals, directors, dad and mother, even the learners, since with out their engagement, you don’t have any occupation. When Barbara approached retirement, she skilled no thought what she would do together with her time, contemplating the truth that she would no extra time have a boss or bosses. 

The nice liberty and probably terrific concern was, Now what do I do, and for whom? Volunteer function? Yet one more work? Work in an Island store? Or most likely examine much more, prepare dinner dinner additional, trip further? Or select photographs? 

“I’ve typically been the person guiding a digicam … when my father gave me a small Brownie digital digicam, or with an Instamatic on vacation trip, utilizing all of the photographs of the family members,” she says. When spring arrived, as she’d achieved a number of springs earlier than, she wandered out into her yard to contemplate pictures of her husband’s yard. However now she was drawn a minor nearer to the bouquets, the hues and component. “I took some photos of bouquets and … bought some all set-designed cardstock and a few double-adhere tape,” and produced a card to ship out to a mate. After which a distinct. And a distinct.

She put a field of picture taking part in playing cards out at her hairdresser’s store. They marketed out, and the hairdresser requested for extra. A buddy who has a store in Vineyard Haven displayed them, they usually provided out. She didn’t understand it on the time, however Barbara Reynolds Pictures was born. Islanders and readers recognized the pictures captured the class of the Island with simplicity and charm. From blue hydrangeas to morning seascapes and landscapes, lighthouses, the Cliffs, mist round a golf system, countless rock formations. All pictures that spoke to the Winery. Further and extra retailers requested to hold them. Consumers requested for boxed units. Versus commonplace greeting taking part in playing cards, listed right here the sentiment was the picture she’d captured on film, and senders might compose their private message to match the celebration. The pictures are so evocative, she now sells a lot bigger prints for framing. 

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Barbara understood nothing about enterprise. Or stock. Or billing. Or transport. Or seasonal need. And even how considerably to value. However she found. In a way, she went from teacher to pupil. And supreme of all, she is her private boss. Barbara critiques to Barbara. The place will her photographer’s eye think about her? How huge will the enterprise get? “The attractiveness of what I do is … it’s pleasurable. It’s a piece primarily as a result of I place a ton of hrs into it, however it’s a activity through which I’m my private supervisor. I can decide how tough I need to function and the way very lengthy I need to carry out.” She suggests she enjoys not understanding through which it might simply take her. “Who’s accustomed to? It’s as much as me.” 

That’s a picture, so to talk, of two Islanders who’ve discovered their different selves driving a digital digicam. They resolution their artwork fairly in a different way, however they pursue their subsequent capabilities likewise — to meet them selves, their very personal pursuits, and their passions. May it have happened someplace else? Who appreciates? However it did happen listed right here, on Martha’s Vineyard.

We invite you to ship us emotions on different Vineyarders who’ve noticed their different selves, the following Second Act to facet on these pages. Ship ideas to [email protected]. 

Jim Dale is a nonfiction writer who has co-authored textbooks on matters starting from athletics to enterprise to medicine to politics, most a short time in the past the memoir “We’re Higher Than This,” with the late Congressman Elijah Cummings.