In the cherry blossom's shade
there's no such thing
as a stranger.

-Kobayashi Issa



"When I was born, Quarry Hill was a small artists’ & writers’ retreat created by my parents. They had no plan to form an “intentional community.” That was not related directly to their thoughts and ideas.

The school bus was purchased in NYC by Irving in about 1967 and we took it to Florida in that winter with about 15 people, young hippies, piled in. I went along and we were all on top of one another. Irv and a guy named Richie drove, and all went pretty well until in a tiny town in SC we broke down."

The bus now rests on the grounds blending in with the vinery and engraved with written memorabilia of all the travelers who passed it in a lifetime or perhaps lived in it. It was one of the first structured on the property.





There have been a lot of hassles about this over the years, as people have tried to drag the Fiske family down from their position of ownership; but the truth is that my parents never planned that there would be anything here that was like a “intentional community” owned and run by everyone.


Quarry Hill, October '17

However, Irving and Barbara did want artistic and creative people to come, and they were delighted to experience the floods of people who came in the 60s and after. Irving once said in a meeting in Rochester that “land owners must share use of their land; otherwise, people will rise up and take it away from them."


"I don’t know what this is, imaginary thought or dream, possibly, or the truth." -Isabella Fiske

"Ladybelle" Isabella Fiske McFarlin & Brion McFarlin

"SO I WAS BORN HERE. I was born into Quarry Hill life.

Born like a dream

in this dream of a world,

How easy in mind I am,

I who will fade away

like the morning dew.

- Zen Poem


Irving Fiske

During my stay at QH, I was photographing the house of Ladybelle on film and something made itself known. I wouldn't call it a haunting because I barely knew he was there but a pleasant visit by whom we think to be Isabellas Father. 

 I've never caught a spirit on frame but have always wanted to. (Bottom left corner while shade) Thinking that Irving could have been with me while I was experiencing his world from the 60s and 70s in present day.

I've never caught a spirit on frame but have always wanted to. (Bottom left corner while shade) Thinking that Irving could have been with me while I was experiencing his world from the 60s and 70s in present day.

COMMUNITY on Quarry Hill, 2017

"Anything for the Newcomer." - Irving

Much like the people were found or collected, so were the minimal amount of objects that made up the community households. Wood scraps made up building walls, I found sheet metal lining the innards of wall structures that appeared to have newspaper writing, and slept on bunkbeds which were separated and made into floors for the upstairs bedroom, and indoor plumbing didn't exist until the 90s. 

During my stay I slept in the loft room in Barbara Hall. A quaint two story room where the floor I slept on was made of a bed from a bunkbed. Safe and sturdy, I felt like a child in a fort. I had the choice of a bed but I slept on some blankets on the floor. It felt like I was a child again in a fort. Forts are where imagination grows for children and I wanted nothing to do with the adult normalcy once I took my shoes off.


- , Sam, Jay, Shadow the cat, Sam & -, Jess Hangers, Shadow at the Brook, Jason, -, Brion, -


“People come and go and flow at Quarry Hill and they always have. Quarry Hill really is indefinable and it changes all the time.

I can’t really say what it is because it is always something different. Often times it has functioned as a therapeutic community, for people to get their heads together and go on to do other things.”

I thought the earth

remembered me, she

took me back so tenderly, arranging

her dark skirts, her pockets

full of lichens and seeds. I slept

as never before, a stone

on the riverbed, nothing

between me and the white fire of the stars

but my thoughts, and they floated

light as moths among the branches

of the perfect trees. All night

I heard the small kingdoms breathing

around me, he insects, and the birds

who do their work in the darkness. All night

I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling

with luminous doom. By morning

I had vanished at least a dozen times

into something better.

- Mary Oliver


"Things are more like they are now

than ever before."

-Dwight D. Eisenhower


All photographs by Kieran Bammann

Text quoted from Isabella Fiske McFarlin unless otherwise noted or myself.

Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.