Take Me Home


This ongoing series, Take Me Home, was inspired by my 87 year old mom who often says she wants to go home.When I ask her where home is the answer varies each day. Often she cannot tell me where it is but just knows it is not where she is at. The road images in this series could have been captured many places in this country. Some of you may feel as if you have driven or walked these same roads though logically you know it is unlikely. They may evoke a memory, make you feel homesick, inspire you to hop in the car and go on a road trip. I sense in my mom a longing to return to an earlier time, a familiar place that remains elusive in her mind. I would give anything to take her there.

We live in a mobile society. Often we spend large periods of our lives residing in different places. Sometimes it is hard to decide what place to call home. Is it the place where you are currently living or is there another sense of home that is connected with an earlier time that resides in your memory and heart?

Leaving, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin

My mom suffers from Alzheimer’s and her short term memory is gone. However there are some long term memories that she can still access. I wonder if the place you are born and grow up in is imprinted on your brain much the same way that newly hatched ducklings imprint on the first living thing that they encounter after birth. Do those first encounters remain attached to your brain when all other memories fade away?

My mom has lived in several places since she moved from her childhood home in Dexter, Maine, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. All she remembers now is Maine.  And all of us who talk to her on the phone reside in her imaginary Maine, also. Though she is living in a nursing care facility in Pennsylvania she alternates between thinking she is at a bed and breakfast, the airport or at the house of a childhood friend.

Ups and Downs, Rockport, Maine

One thing is for certain, she does not think she is home. Several months ago when my mom could still articulate well, I asked her what it felt like to have the memories disappear.  She said she can sometimes see the memories floating in her mind just out of reach. She knows they are there but when she tries to reach out and grab them she can never quite reach them. I think that when the memories start to go you find yourself grasping for something familiar and what is more familiar and safe than home? The problem is that without any memory you do not know where home is.

When I talk on the phone with my mom now, she has a difficult time carrying on a conversation. She is cheerful and upbeat, asking how I am doing (though I am not sure she knows who I am). She almost always asks me if I can take her home. On the few occasions that I have asked her where that is or where she wants to go she can’t come up with an answer. She clearly does not know where home is but knows it is not where she is at the moment. Today she told me that she is ready to go back to Dexter. When all other memories of home have left her, that pull to her childhood still remains.

So now when I am out on back roads or walking down paths in local parks I find myself asking, ” If I were dropped here from the sky and did not know where I was would I be able to look around and find the right path home? And….Is home a physical place or is it a place in time?”

Different Paths

More images from this series can be viewed here. I will be adding images as I capture them so feel free to bookmark the link and return.


Conversations: Stories From Creative Lives

Thunderchicken and Vicki  circa 1978

As part of the Conversations Series sponsored by the Cedarburg Art Musuem, Photographer Vicki Reed, will share her journey from rural Maine to the Midwest and how it has influenced her photography. Adventures along the way include the Masai Mara of Africa and a skydiving clown.

The space at the Cedarburg Art Museum is charming and intimate making for the ideal spot for artists and non-artists alike to gather over a cup of home made soup and a beverage. Space is limited so register early.

$15/person (includes soup, beverage and cake) 
Call the museum or email to register.

Cedarburg Art Museum

W63 N675 Washington Avenue
 Cedarburg, WI 53012

*I will give a little bit of background on where I started out and how I got to where I am today with my photography. I will share a few stories and adventures from the journey. It is my mom's 86th birthday so there will be cake!!

Regarding the image: Yes that is a skydiving clown. Yes, that is me wearing a parachute, strapped to the bottom of a plane with the door off. I was younger then. The parachute was for my own safety in case I fell out of the plane while photographing. I was shown the pull cord and told, " Never mind. You will be so panicky if you fall out, you will never be able to pull it."


Text & Texture

October 20- December 1, 2013
Cedarburg Cultural Center
Cedarburg, WI 53012
Opening Reception: October 20, 1-4pm
Blurb Book available. Click here for full preview.

In early 2012 I won a Best of Show Award that entitled me to a solo show in 2013. I had had several recent solo shows centered around the many processes that I use to create my images. For this show I wanted to consider a different approach to presenting my work, something that would offer a new perspective for the viewer and would prove challenging for me. I decided to attempt a collaboration with other artists I admire. Deb and Claudette are both abstract painters who use a lot of color and I am primarily a black and white photographer. The initial challenge for me was to figure out a way to tie our diverse work together. 

Both Deb and Claudette incorporate texture into their pieces, and I had begun working in encaustic that allowed me to experiment with textured papers and surfaces. Texture seemed like common ground that would provide a good starting point for all of us but I wanted something more, a common thread that would take the viewer through a journey when seeing our show.

My husband, Buz, has been writing poetry since his teenage years. When he began writing he had no idea he was the third generation poet in his family. Only later did he discover the work of his great- grandfather, a photographer in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and his grandfather who composed in the trenches during WWI. I do not remember a time when he has not written, and it has served us both well that we share a common passion for creating. We respect and are inspired by each other's process and work. 

Both of our crafts help us to move through difficult times like Buz's recent fight with prostate cancer (Spring was written shortly after his successful surgery). During our travels he is often sitting patiently nearby, notebook and pencil in hand as I take an hour to photograph a tree, a rock or a street scene, and now in retirement we share a studio. It was natural to incorporate his words into the exhibit and see where they would take us.

Those words took me to places I had never gone before in my work, including a series of 3D encaustic origami boats (not finished in time to include in this book). The poems also acted as a catalyst for Deb and Claudette. The amazing body of work they have created is beyond my dreams. To discover what poems inspired each of us and to see how differently or similarly we interpreted the words has been great fun.

Over the years I have received beautiful gifts of poetry from Buz (such as untitled for a birthday) and this exhibit is my love letter and thank you to him for his many years of support of my passion for photography. To see him deeply moved, rendered speechless by this beautiful body of visual art, fills me with joy.  ~ Vicki


Racine: A Day of Magic

I had a fabulous day with my mom and dad today. Hoping that Mom would be up for a day out, I took a chance on planning a trip to Racine today to see the Wisconsin Photography 2012, at the Racine Art Museum's Wustum Museum, where I have three images on display. My hope paid off as evidently Mom was up and ready to go this morning long before it was time to leave!

We had a great time slowly going through the exhibit at the Wustum. If you have not been there, there are many rooms opening into other rooms both upstairs and downstairs. Mine were in an upstairs room and we came upon them at the end of our tour. Dad had gone to find a bathroom, so it was just my mom and I when we came around the corner and saw the three large pieces on the far wall. I was so surprised by Mom's reaction. 


The Growing Season

Bleeding Hearts 3

For the past year and a half I have been experimenting with a new body of work. For the first time in the 35 years that I have worked in photography I have become obsessed with a project. I have been passionate about many other areas of my work but this is the first time that I hate to have to go to bed at night and can't wait to wake up in the morning to work on the project. 

Due to the nature of this project- working with live plants and flowers in bloom I feel compelled to capture as many images as I can before everything wilts or dies. Even within this project I have separate projects,one of which is capturing roadside weeds and wildflowers. I now have to be careful when driving on back roads not to end up in a ditch because I am focusing on all the plants along the side of the road.


Harrington Beach ~ March Snow

As I said in the last post, it has been an unusual winter with little snow. We have had some cold temperatures but little precipitation. The first week of March we had the first major storm of the season. It was like a winter wonderland and I headed north to Harrington Beach State Park. There was sun when I arrived but it clouded up and eventually turned the light quite flat. I enjoyed the many trails with the snow laden trees and the patterns of snow on the beach. It was a truly magical way to spend Aldo Leopold Weekend.



This winter has been so mild that I have had few opportunities to capture snow and ice photos. The fields are bare, none of the fluffy white stuff to be found. In January, the only place I could find anything interesting was on the shores of Lake Michigan at Harrington Beach State Park. It looked like the surface of the moon, with the snow craters and moguls.


Two Year Update

Has it really been two years since we took this prostate cancer journey?

Buz is still cancer free and doing well. He is now retired and we are enjoying time to do whatever we like. I continue with my photography and he is working on a second novel. We spend time at the cottage in all seasons and enjoy an occasional road trip.



Our 1886 farmhouse likes to talk to us in winter. I guess its old bones are as disquieted by the plunging temperatures as ours are. When the humidity seeps out of the air our floors begin a running dialog as we traverse the house. Actually, the older floors in the original section of the house are fine. The wide pine boards with their dark amber patina seem older and wiser and resigned to the cold, dry season. It is the whiny younger maple boards in the addition that don’t allow any quiet tiptoeing. They feel some compulsion to speak up when I creep downstairs for a piece of toast in the night. I know enough now to thwart them by using the second staircase, the narrow original one that requires careful attention to my feet as I descend and a reverential bow of my head to avoid hitting it on the ceiling. It is worth the extra effort to silence those high pitched adolescent voices.


Winter Solstice

My husband was born on the winter solstice (December 21), the shortest day of the year. He responds to those who remark on this fact with, “Yes, but it is the longest night… and that can be a good thing!” I dated two other men before marrying my husband; one born on the spring equinox and the other on the summer solstice. It seems I am drawn to men on the cusp.


One Month Update

Hi All!

Just wanted to let you know that Buz is doing well with recovery. At three weeks he was back at work half days and this week (one month post-op) he is back full time. He also returned to exercising this week which has really been a wonderful spiritual boost for him. It seems to shed the stress from his body.

Take care and Happy Easter!


Bye Bye Foley

For Buz who has his Foley catheter removed today

Pack up all my gear and go,
Let me flow,
Swinging low,
Bye bye Foley,
Where the nurse waits for me,
Sugar's sweet, so is she,
Bye bye


In Sickness and in Health

On Wednesday morning I helped my husband, Buz take his first post-op shower. As he stood with warm water cascading over his body, the umbilical like catheter coiling on the shower floor it was the first opportunity I had to take in the entire scope of the operation. His belly was slightly distended but it was obvious that the incisions are already healing. Not even a band aid needed. What a miracle our bodies are. I soaped his back and after he had rinsed, I towel dried him below the knees since bending over is not on his to do list yet. He said, “Hon, I guess this is what is meant by in sickness and in health.”


On To Recovery!

Buz's operation went really well today and we are on to recovery. He may come home tomorrow if everything goes well. We will be kicking back for the next 4-6 weeks!

Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers and good vibes!


Into The Wild Blue Yonder

The morning of the operation we had to be at the hospital at 5:30 am. Even though we had preregistered there was a back up at check in at that early hour. Several others waited in the lobby for their names to be called before it was our turn. There were carry on bags and suitcases in seats and on the floor and you might even think you were in an airport rather than a hospital. Looking at the couples I tried to imagine which one was there for the trip and which was there to wait. It was easy to guess with some of them as one had a small suitcase at their feet and the other had a cloth bag with a magazine or book poking out of the top like mine. With other couples it was hard to tell as they both wore the same non-committal stare. Some people were alone and when their name was called they wheeled their little suitcase up to the cubicle and sat down to verify their insurance, etc. I wondered what medical procedure they were there for and if they would be alone for their entire journey.