AmericaStoryLong Island; Wrapsody by Luke Wynne

Growing up in the Great South Bay of Long Island’s south shore, the waters of the bay and the nearby Atlantic Ocean were key influences on my formative years.

Growing up in the Great South Bay of Long Island’s south shore, the waters of the bay and the nearby Atlantic Ocean were key influences on my formative years.

As I grew older, I would venture to the east end of Long Island with friends, to go surfing off Montauk Point. While in college, I had a recurring summer job in East Hampton to help support my photographic studies. During my last summer spent in East Hampton I met my future wife. So, as time has passed, the fond memories of the Hamptons live on…

Since then, we have returned to East Hampton many times over the years to visit friends and our favorite places. These visits were during the summer months, when the streets and beaches are crowded.

One year ago, my wife and I decided to make a winter visit to the Hamptons. We rented a small cottage in the village of East Hampton for a seven-day holiday during Christmas.

When we arrived in East Hampton, we were greeted with beautiful clear winter skies, no crowds and a chance to relax. As we were settling into the pleasant 1950’s cottage, I grabbed my camera and walked into town to gather some essentials. As I walked, I passed a neighboring house with a row of hedges edging the front yard. The hedges were wrapped in burlap, and intricately stitched together.

I took the first image, of what was to become a portfolio, of wrapped plants. During the next seven days, we traveled the back roads to Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton, Wainscott, Amagansett, Springs, Sagaponack and Montauk…all the while stopping and photographing the wrapped plants of the East End. These iconic plants – wrapped in their burlap blankets – were like winter sentinels. They stood guard against the elements in small clusters and sprawling expanses – always vigilant and unwavering. They were stalwart against the winter winds.

Making this series of images was extremely fulfilling. It challenged me in curious and delightful ways. The camera has always been an instrument of discovery for me, and the idea of confronting simple burlap covered plants presented all manner of questions and propositions. Not the least of these notions was how to document these wrapped oddities and at the same time keep the humor, grace and mystery of these winter guardians. In the end, it was a like a rhapsody…or to be more precise, a wrapsody!

About Luke Wynne

Luke Wynne began his photographic career in NYC. He moved to Los Angeles where he was an editorial, portrait and movie photographer. His portraits of Hollywood movie actors include Richard Gere, Whoopi Goldberg, George Clooney and Julia Roberts and were syndicated worldwide by the Gamma Liaison Agency from 1985 to 1999.

While living in Italy from1999 to 2011, Wynne taught Master Classes in portraiture and exhibited extensively in the Veneto region of Italy.

He returned to the United States in 2011 and received the National Endowment for the Arts in 2011 for his site installation, everyday. In 2015 he debuted his book, and show, Artists in Residence at the Crayola Gallery in Bethlehem, PA.

In 2016 Mr. Wynne curated, and participated in the Allentown Art Museum exhibition and book, Allentown X 7: Photographic Explorations. In 2018, Mr. Wynne wrote the Introduction to the critically acclaimed America in A Trance – a book by photographer Niko Kallianotis, published by Damiani Publishing. He is currently a Professor of Digital Photography at Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA. He is also a founding member of the photographic collective Frame 37. [Official Website]

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