All posts by Leslie D. Bartlett

I am a photographer Cape Ann Historian; as a Historian I present the heritage of Cape Ann through lectures, my photography and writings. As a photographer I stand speak on behalf of the image - most often a landscape image

A Heap of Resilience


(On display as part of SQ&LB Artist Collaboration: The Resilient Landscapes of Marblehead and Cape Ann -Viewed Through the Prisms of Ecology and Story Telling)

As Susan and I discussed ways to present the relatively new binding of ‘Resilient’ to ‘Landscape,’ I came across a reference to Robert Smithson’s “A Heap of Language.

We wordsmithed ‘A Heap of Resilience,’ toward the end of our research and preparation of art pieces.
Design and layout by LB
Backdrop from an original silk painting by SQ.

May 7, 20178




The scale model float, driven only by day arrives in Chicago by day, and awaits its berth assignment .chicagoparked


As Cape Hedge Beach Prepares the Sands of Summer

Soon the grey and whites of winter will be replaced by the glow of dusk and dawn along Cape Hedge Beach.chedge


Goodbye to the Ties That Bind…

‘Despite an Exhortation by Father Winter, we turn away from the ties which bind us to cold.’wintereexhortation

The Drought Spoke(n) Wheels On

A view of the deserted desert-like bottom of John Swan’s Pit. The reveal is from the granite slab sitting outside the DPW Pump House. Circa late 2002 by Leslie D. Bartlett; the Flat Ledge Quarry is at maximum wall depth, soon the waters will begin their return.

the drought spoken


Taking Rockport to Its Extremes – Part One – DROUGHT


In my 45 years on Cape Ann, I’ve experienced several cycles of extreme weathers. With the resurgent interest in photographing the quarries of Rockport evidenced by several photographers, painters, hikers, and nature lovers, I wish to share back to when I first encountered Flat Ledge Quarry (Swan’s Pit).
From 2001 through 2002, Rockport lost 85% of its stored water capacity. The extended drought revealed a landscape of quarry walls not seen since 1930. toward_drought

Above – 2002 Flat Ledge Quarry (expand to full size),  is a panoramic view that we may not see again in the measure of our lives. As the waters receded and the rail bed revealed along the right side of the quarry, I arrived every morning to document what was being uncovered. This vista was a daily descent into unknown territory.  For my friends Skip, Paul, Nick & Gil there is much to absorb from this image: reflections encompassed with an added ring of high water markings, the derelict stone sled in the foreground (invitation into the image plane, and a stop sign of silenced activity). Our enthusiasm for ‘liking’ pales  before the descent.

Below – 2002 ‘The Deep Empty.’

What is there to “like?” At best to bear silent witness, and this is one of the first lessons I absorbed from the great Rockport Drought, to speak on behalf of the landscape. To return day after day, hour after hour, to work the rock walls,  to trace the path of the quarry cutters with my own path. Soon, this led to my life long works – ‘Chapters on a Quarry Wall.’