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  Field Notes From
ZipUSA: 02557

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ZipUSA: 02557 On AssignmentArrows

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From Photographer

Cary Wolinsky

ZipUSA: 02557 On Assignment

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From Author

Perry Garfinkel

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Shane Young (top) and Cary Wolinsky


ZipUSA: 02557

Field Notes From Photographer
Cary Wolinsky
Best Worst Quirkiest
    Just being in Oak Bluffs was the best! Despite the ferryloads of tourists who crowd onto Martha's Vineyard every summer, a real sand-in-your-toes community settles into the quiet side streets all over town.
    When I first visited Oak Bluffs as a kid, I thought the gingerbread cottages and the racially mixed town were pretty exotic. Now that I've spent the better part of 34 years roaming the globe on assignment, I think of the cottages as a symbol of New Englanders' love for old things and old ways. Oak Bluffs' wonderful mix of races just feels right—the way America ought to be.

    I had an appointment with Police chief Joseph Carter, who has a stay-pressed, cool-under-fire authority about him. He is also a local celebrity, having five years before forced a serious cooldown on the town's annual Fourth of July celebrations when drugs showed signs of getting out of hand. Now, when he walks the streets at night, townsfolk go out of their way to thank him for "giving them back their town."
    On this particular Fourth, I was to photograph Chief Carter making rounds.  He asked me to meet him at the police station. As I drove by the front of the station, he stood on the sidewalk giving last minute instructions to a group of officers. I slowed and waved, getting their attention. Then I headed around the block, thinking that would give him time to finish up. When I swung to make a right, I found myself heading directly into one-way traffic. I stopped, reversed quickly, and heard a loud snap. I stopped again and got out of the car. My back bumper had taken down a stop sign, which laid in front of the chief and eight police officers.  "Always good to see you, Cary," he called.

    I was invited to photograph the annual Trivia and Treasures rummage sale at the Cottagers Corner building. Cottagers Inc. is a philanthropic organization run by a group of energetic African-American women. The money raised from the sale is distributed among civic, educational, and charitable organizations at the end of each season.
    The building's old-fashioned meeting hall had been transformed by the event. A sea of tchotchkes spilled over wide tables and out onto the street. One of the Cottagers looked after the cash box and offered low-ball prices if anyone showed any interest in anything.
    The Cottagers had advised me to arrive early, and I could see why. The place was packed with bargain hunters. But while the sale was good for finding bargains, it wasn't so good for making photographs. I sat inside and chatted with some of the women about other events in town. When I finally reemerged, I spotted a highly agitated shopper.  "It's my bicycle," she said as her eyes searched the area. "It's been stolen!"
    The Cottager at the cash box suddenly looked up. "Oh no! Was that your bicycle?" she asked. "I just sold it for ten dollars!"

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