Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Extreme Plein Air Part 2

Photographer Alexandra de Steiguer, self-portrait

Alexandra de Steiguer is an artist and a loner. In winter, she moves out to the Isles of Shoals where she works as a winter caretaker. She is an example of "extreme plein air" because when she photographs the craggy profiles of coastal Maine it is sometimes in wind, snow, rain, frost and splashy sea, sometimes all alone.  See Part 1 for the whole story.  Part 2 outlines Alexandra's diet while she captures nature in plein air.

How do you sustain yourself with respect to food when you're out on Star Island in the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire? 

Before I move offshore I make sure to stock up on lots of canned and
dry-goods that I bring with me.  And then Brad Anderson, my
wonderful partner, comes out for short stays periodically throughout
winter to bring fresh veggies and sometimes large jugs of drinking
water if there wasn't enough left on-island to last through winter.
I'm never too concerned about running out of food - even if storms and
large seas keep Brad and the supply boat from coming out for weeks -
because I'm welcome to make use of the stores of food left in the
Oceanic Hotel (one of the few remaining grand hotels of the Victorian
era).  Though when I open one of those institutional-sized cans of
food, I must be fairly resigned to eating that particular thing for
some days to come!

There are also a few gardens on the island and sometimes there are
leftover, late veggies that I'll make use of.  For instance, I spent
last Thanksgiving alone on the island and I had run low of anything
fresh - I think I had two sad-looking carrots in my fridge.  But in
one of the gardens I found a head of cauliflower, perfectly ready to
pick, and so that and some fresh herbs became my Thanksgiving feast.
It was a perfect find on a perfectly quiet, stark and beautiful,
deserted island.

For more information about this photographer, visit her website at