Princeton Architectural's Reviews > A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart

A Year of Mornings by Maria Alexandra Vettese
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Mar 31, 09

Read in March, 2009

The morning hours before the hustle and bustle of the day commences is the perfect time to pause and enjoy a sense of renewal and vitality. On the morning of December 7, 2006, Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes each took a digital photo of everyday objects randomly arranged on their kitchen tables and, unbeknownst to one another, uploaded them to the website Flickr. Noticing a remarkable similarity between their images, they agreed to document their mornings by posting one photo to a shared blog every weekday for a year. Their site, 3191 (—named after the distance in miles between their homes in Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon—quickly acquired a worldwide following of devotees fascinated by the magical coincidences and pictorial synchronicity of their photographic pairings.

A Year of Mornings collects 236 images—always taken before 10 am without discussion between the two women—from this uniquely 21st century artistic collaboration. The intimacy of these photographs—discarded clothing, a view of a snowy day from the window, a tablecloth—combined with their striking similarities in color and composition defies the reality of their long-distance collaboration. While clearly kindred spirits, the two women have met in person only once. Their friendship is maintained solely online, sustained by a shared love for moments of serenity, solitude, and peacefulness. The annotated photographs in A Year of Mornings radiate an aura of sweetness and light—the promise of a new day.

Stephanie Congdon Barnes is an artist and toymaker (Little Birds Handmade) in Portland, Oregon.

Maria Alexandra Vettese is an artist who uses her letterpress, her camera, and a frequent indulgence in daydreaming to sort out her creative ideas. Along with running her little business, port2port press, she co-curates Lines – Shapes, a small book collective. She works out of an inspiration-lined, light-filled studio and resides with her two cats in Portland, Maine.

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