By Keith Meisel
For Marjorie White, the light at the end of the tunnel often appears in the morning or late afternoon.
That’s when the Finksburg resident picks up her camera and heads out to capture scenes and images that attract her attention.
Last December, she was walking on a beach in Morocco when the designs in the sand caught her eye. The frame containing four images she shot during that morning walk are now part of the Carroll County Arts Council’s annual members-only exhibition at the Carroll Arts Center through Aug. 3.
“I’m definitely not a photographer. It is not a form of income or anything,” said White, a retired school bus driver. “I never wanted to be a professional photographer. I don’t want someone to dictate what I shoot.
“I just love photography. I just love it,” said White. “It’s my thing. I don’t want to be bored.”
She likes shooting scenes that suddenly appear to her and those she actively seeks out. She said her choice of shooting in color or black and white depends on the image, situation and how she is feeling.
The galleries on her blog, TomsMomsRide, feature color and black and white photos from her motorcycle visits to national parks in California, New Mexico, Utah and Tennessee as well journeys to Colorado, Monterey Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, among others.
“I use it as a healing tool,” she said of her camera. “I suffer with depression.”
She said both her father and younger brother struggled with the disease. Her father committed suicide in 1974. Her brother took his own life when he was 17 in 1977.
Their deaths are at the core of the non-fiction book, “Everything to Live For,” that White’s mother, former WMAR-TV reporter Susan White-Bowden, wrote to help troubled parents and their children.
Marjorie White finds her healing in taking photos and riding a motorcycle, especially after the youngest of her two sons, Tommy, died in a motorcycle accident in 2013. He was 25.
She said he was a few blocks from his home in Calabasa, a California city in the southwest corner of the San Fernando Valley less than 25 miles from Los Angeles, when a driver made an illegal U-turn. June 13 will mark the five-year anniversary of his death.
In June of 2015, she set out to ride her motorcycle from Maryland to California.
She wrote in her blog that her original goal was to memorialize her youngest son.
The home she and her husband share is small. Its many windows offer plenty of light. But there is not much wall space to exhibit her photos.
There a few on display, including an art section in the living room and a more formal family photo gallery in the dining room.
Elsewhere, there are two framed images from her visits to Africa. But the hundreds of photos she took on those trips to Africa are “all in slide trays,” she said.
Going through them is a project for the future, she said with a laugh.
That future will also include visits to see her sister, who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
She and her husband want to go back to Morocco, where he was stationed with the Navy for six years during the Vietnam War era. “He loved it there,” she said.
And she wants to return to California, where she had lived and had served as one of the first female forest firefighters in the state.
“That’s one of my dreams, to go back and go out on a night fire, but not work it. A night fire is so beautiful,” she said.
It’s all about the light.