Our sixty fifth interview in this new series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer and artist MaryJane Rosenfeld from Beaufort, South Carolina, United States. I read this interview and savoured every luscious word and every compelling image. This is an interview that will leave you breathless with excitement. Enjoy!
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, Lisa Mitchell, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Whalberg, Andrea Bigiarni, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios, Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani (@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine Halsør, Paul Toussaint, Carol Wiebe, Julie Denning, Kim Clayton (@berleyart), Karen Messick, Serap Utaş and myself, go here.
All images ©MaryJane Rosenfeld
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
I can’t remember having an ambition. I was very serious about school and loved summer vacation. It all seemed like it would last forever.
I was chosen for the coveted role of Peter Pan in the fifth grade play. At the time, I was very proud and honoured, but in retrospect, I think it was probably because I was the only girl in my class who had short hair and looked like a boy!
One Christmas, I worked at a department store, dressed as an elf and taking pictures of children sitting on Santa Clause’s lap. It was great fun.
Private or State/(Public in US) school?
From kindergarten through seventh grade I went to a wonderful private girls school which I adored. Then, for some reason, my parents transferred me to a state school for the rest of junior high and high school. I later found out my mother thought I was becoming too serious and wanted me to have more fun. I didn’t!
University or Work?
Who was or still is your mentor?
I learned a lot from Bruno Bettelheim, who was a psychologist and writer, and directed a school for emotionally disturbed children. I read all his books and then worked as a counselor at the school.
How physically fit are you?
I don’t go to a gym but walk a lot and take care of a large garden.
Ambition or talent: what matters more to success?
Speaking from my own experience, I would say a little of both, but would add focus and perseverance. I had some talent and ambition, but could never decide where to direct it!
How politically committed are you?
Very, but balanced with a fairly pessimistic view of things.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
Lots of things! If I had to pick one, it would be the new Volkswagen minibus coming out in a couple of years. In lime green.
What is your biggest extravagance?
Again, a long list! Clothes, restaurants, travel. But I’ve learned to be strategic and stay within a small budget.
In what place are you happiest?
Wherever I am, darkening skies, the sound of thunder, and the feeling of a coming storm, gives me a great feeling of well being.
What ambitions do you still have?
Again, many! I’m working on learning French and would love to be somewhat fluent. I would also like to live in another culture for a while. And maybe learn to use some new editing apps.
What drives you on?
Besides coffee and wine, I am inspired by the creativity and humor of human beings.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
My friendships, old and new, and the joyous life my husband and I have created.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Not much irritates me. Which is probably why I have some of the friends I do.
If your 20 year old self could see you now what would she think?
I was recently given a collection of letters my 20 year old self wrote to a boyfriend, so I have a pretty good idea. I actually think she would be a little disappointed that I had not found a career and dedicated myself to it. She was pretty intense, though the seeds of ambivalence were definitely there.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
Once again, there’s a lot to choose from! There was a windbreaker, though, that made me feel positively jubilant. It was left in a roadside cafe in Tennessee.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
“Challenge” implies hope for success and I don’t have much of that. The exploding population is an overwhelming problem and at this point that can’t even be discussed.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
I’m hopeful that there is more, and that all beings will feel loved. I do not think it is any more unlikely than life before death…which still astounds me.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far out of 10 what would you score?
This is a hard one. There were so many opportunities that I deeply regret not taking, yet I’m very contented. So I can not only fluctuate from zero to 10 over time, but can feel both simultaneously! Ultimately, though, I’ve been so fortunate and appreciate how generous the world has been. I would have to say 10.
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