Sara Leith-Tanous ’73
January 24, 2024


Three alumni photographers put their focus back on Andover
by Sara Leith-Tanous ’73

Sara Leith-Tanous’s photography has been described as projecting a “state of dream and lyrical recollection,” so commented Faculty Emeritus Kelly Wise P’80, ’83, ’86, GP’21, in his Boston Globe photography review of Leith-Tanous’s 1988 group show. Based in San Francisco, Leith-Tanous has exhibited across the United States and in Canada, most recently with the “Dreams of Transformation” exhibition at Smith Andersen North in San Anselmo, California.

Now, at sixty,
I know that feelings, however powerful, won’t do me in.
But back then,
in the tumultuous time of figuring out who I was, I clung to a few things to keep me afloat.

Making pictures with a camera that captured light on film in a darkroom where silver prints emerged magically in trays of pungent chemicals;

A few captive friends and supportive teachers, eager, or at least willing, to look at my most recent prints;

And trees,
A giant copper beech with undersides of branches light, like human arms;

Maples on either side of a narrow walk, brilliant yellow, lighting up Fall when daylight diminished;

Trees that showed no sign of wavering when they lost their leaves, when they faced winter with only skeletal limbs;

Trees that budded and burst into green when days lengthened and spring arrived.

I visited after a long absence.
Stalwart buildings were alive with new purpose.
Gone, the giant copper beech, ravaged by invisible disease. But a new one grows back—less prominent and thriving.

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Categories: Alumni, Magazine

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