Elsa Dorfman is a portrait photographer and writer from Cambridge, MA. Her portraits of poets, writers and other friends were published in Elsa's Housebook: A Woman's Photojournal (Godine, 1974). She collaborated with Robert Creeley on the books En Famille (Granary Press, 1999) and His Idea (Coach House Press, 1975).
Bob Burns has been producing and directing science, public affairs, and educational documentaries for more than twenty years. No Hair Day marked a return to Bob's video roots---the very personal and experimental video art of the 1970s. Bob liked the 70s better.
Katy Homans did more than design this book. She took it under her wing and made magic. A couple of hundred books have been informed by her generous eye and her inscrutable taste. She has no favorites. She lives in Manhattan with her husband Patterson Sims and their daughters Mardet and Lally. We have been friends since 1973.
No Hair Day---the film---can from time to time be seen on the national PBS series, "Independent Focus." A VHS copy can be purchased from WGBH Video at www.wgbh.org, www.yahoo.com, www.amazon.com, www.bn.com, or by calling 1-800-949-8670. The film's web site is www.nohairday.com.
The film and the Polaroid 20 x 24 original portraits were exhibited at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA in 2000. The show was curated by George Fifield and had two godmothers, curator Rachel Rosenfield Lafo and overseer Susan Master-Karnik. Replica portraits and film were exhibited at Cape Cod Community College and the Houston Center for Photography in 2001. A portfolio of portraits was printed in Hanging Loose 80 and Journal of the Hippocratic Society (Vol.2).
Debbie Dorsey's first loves are her husband, Bob Burns, and her two children, Bobby and Georgia. Since going through the physical and emotional roller coaster that is breast cancer, she is trying her hand at stand-up comedy. She continues to make films in Boston.
Libby Levinson lives in Framingham, MA with her husband Herb and their dog Einstein. She has two adult children, Meridith and Todd. She is the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO at International Data Group in Boston, MA.
Carol Potoff died on November 28, 2001. An artist who worked in many media including yarn, she was a beloved art teacher at Nauset Regional High School in North Eastham, MA. She called her friends Darling and her cat Baby. Her alter ego was Miss Lulu, a seventy-year-old woman. Purple was her favorite color. In her school studio she had a phone that she called "a phone to God." She would say to students, if you have that big a problem, you can always call God. Then she would pick up the phone and say Hello God? Are you there?
Mary Panzer helped establish the skeleton of this book. In 1992 we became friends through email when she joined the National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian as Curator of Photographs. In 2000 she moved to New York City, where she writes about photography and American culture. Her recent work includes essays on Mathew Brady, Lewis Hine, and H.C. Anderson.
Sara Blackburn, long-time Manhattan book editor, read this manuscript and offered her support and wise pencil. We were friends since 1959 and were Greenwich Village neighbors. She died October 12, 2002 of lung cancer.
Nettie Lagace is webmaster emeritus of elsadorfman.com where this entire book appears and did appear in its many iterations. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1991, majoring in political science and history, and from the School of Information and Library Studies at the University of Michigan in 1995. She is a software implementation librarian at Ex Libris, which creates software for libraries. She loves inline skating on smoothly-paved paths and collecting eyeglass frames. Philip Greenspun was our match-maker: philip.greenspun.com and photo.net
Jenna Webster, historian and writer, made this book a reality in ways real and spiritual. She received degrees from Harvard College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a co-author of "Ben Shahn's New York: The Photograph and Modern Times," published by Yale University Press. The movies, her husband Tim and her dog Ollie are her great loves.
Andrew Grumet webified Katie Homans' hardcopy design to produce these pages. Andrew completed his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT in 1999, and currently works as a freelance software programmer. He lives in Somerville, MA with his wife Lara and daughter Talia. Andrew is webmaster of elsadorfman.com.
Patty Curran was born in south Georgia in 1945. She has lived in Pensacola & Jacksonville (FL),Wilmington (DE),Portsmouth (&Newport News (VA) New London (CN) POrtland & Kittery (ME) Chicago & Lake Bluff (IL) Quinsette Point & Wilford (RI) Lorraine & Sheffield Lake & Cleveland (OH), Cape Cod (MA) for ten years and the same neighborhood in Cambridge (MA) for the last 24 years. This variety seems to have jarred her out of a rut for life. Growing up, she found her parents the basis for what she does and who she is. Her father' had a near pathologic attention to detail and her mother' cd make something beautiful w/ her worldclass sewing out of anything. And her mom wd never tolerate any i can't do it negativity. Her answer to everything was, do it any which way. All of this gave Patty a a diverse assortment of talents and gave her the permission to be adventurous. She never felt she had to specialize. Besides sewing everything from draperies to costumes to fur coats for little dogs, Elsa's dresses, vests and purse and Harvey's ties, she has made lingerie for Cambridge's mythic HubbaHubba shop, cartoons and street graffitti, murals for Herrell's Ice Cream in Harvard Square, Daddy-Os in East Cambridge, Out of the Blue in Davis Square and the Wine Tasting Room in Ball Square, and animation drawing. Since 1989 she has done a lot of antique restoration for very fussy antique dealers. On top of all this, she is known to make wonderful paintings.
Nancy was born in Washington D.C. in 1947 and grew up in its suburbs, waiting out the fifties until something better came along -- the sixties. During that decade she went to college in various places and eventually got a degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem in art history which she never imagined would give her a marketable skill. About twenty years later, she left teaching to study landscape design at Radclliffe Seminars. This program and her art history background gave her the training that complemented her lifelong love of gardening and the outdoors. She has run her own landscape design/build business since 1985. In February 2003 she found out she had breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation; she finished her treatments in August 2003. She was able to remain fairly cheerful and keep her business going throughout this period (and beyond) with the support of her family, friends and great landscape crew as well as the patience and understanding of her clients. She would like to thank all of them for helping her get through this past year. Her friend Ginny Remedi made the earrings that she is wearing in the photos. Ginny's Website
Kyle Nicholls was born in Cambridge in 1970 and has stayed in the area since, with the exception of a ten year stint in NYC for college and life experience. In college Kyle studied architecture for a couple years at Cooper Union and then transferred to the New School for Social Research to complete her BA in liberal arts. Since, she has taught high school mathematics and worked in the software industry. Kyle is currently thinking about subject analysis and classifications while attending the Simmons College masters program in library and information science. When she's not working on Elsa's web-site or studying, Kyle is working on her private pilots license and going to yoga class. Some day she would like to operate a flying book-mobile!
The portraits in this book were taken with a Polaroid 20 x 24" camera, one of only six in the world. (Drawing by Elsa Dorfman.)