By Linda Stein
|Rhonda's "Blue Refugees" (2008)|
But I want to address her creative side, the one that led to her love for the arts and for photography in particular.
She and I became closer as friends as we poured over the myriad photographs Rhonda took. She had studied photography and thrilled to the textures and silhouettes in nature. She made a series of photographs she called Refugees.
I remember sitting with Rhonda one day at the computer on her dining room table in Sag Harbor. My partner, Helen, was sitting across from us, deeply engrossed in her own scholarly reading and writing, while I and Rhonda, as ill as she was, carefully analyzed each of the photographs she had taken. She wanted my opinion.
We decided which ones should be kept in the online folder, which should be cropped or deleted—a process done together in Rhonda's inimitable manner: slowly, carefully, with perfectionism and attention to every detail (and that, of course, meant EVERY detail). "No, let's go back to that other picture… I think we could make it better… well, maybe we were wrong to eliminate the one seven shots ago… we should put it back into our selected group… wait, let’s give that other one more thought.”
For hours, until my brain was pretty fogged out and my eyes could see little more, Rhonda continued to relish in her photographic creations, and we continued to select, crop and delete.
Finally this sick woman, though badgered by chemo and weakened (one would have thought) by pain and medications, finally took pity on me, as she saw that my eyes must have closed for some seconds. And with compassion and an energy that indicated she could have gone on and on and on, Rhonda Copelon said “Ahh, you must be tired, Linda. Let’s stop for now. Go rest and we’ll get back to it another time.”