Climbing on a Shadow Ladder
Climbing on a Shadow Ladder
Gordon, Isabel Pedersen
Still Image Item Type Metadata
Isabel P. Gordon, 98, wife of the late Richard D. Gordon and longtime resident of Westport, CT passed peacefully at her home on Tuesday, February 10, 2015. Isabel was born March 19, 1916 in Chicago, Illinois, to the late Anne Torp and Andrew Pedersen. Isabel Gordon was the photographic illustrator for The Shadow Book, published in 1960. The book received accolades for her photographic genius that depicted a child's relationship with his/her shadow. The New York Times Children's Book Section praised The Shadow Book as having top illustrations for 1960. It was filled with fascinating ideas to help children understand an imaginary play world with shadows. The black and white photographic exploration into the world of children and their copycat shadows is an amazing journey for children but also offers a metaphoric message for adults who have to live with shadows that follow them for life. Isabel Gordon wrote and illustrated The ABC Hunt, provided illustrations for I Talk to Elephants!, Little Windjamer and other children's books, but it was The Shadow Book that stood the test of time and remained in print by Harcourt, Brace and Company until the late 1990's when black and white photography faded from public interest. Isabel was a self-taught photographer and won 2nd place in the 1960 International Popular Photography Contest, which had over 175,000 entries. After more than 15 years in the darkroom, believing that long hours working with chemicals was affecting her health, Isabel shifted her interest to self-study of the local environment. She became a bee keeper, studied horseshoe crab populations, and became immensely interested in the monarch butterfly. Using macro photography, and shooting now in color, Isabel set out to document the miraculous transformation of egg, caterpillar, and chrysalis into the emerging adult monarch butterfly. Isabel always had plenty of milkweed growing near her Connecticut home, the only plant a monarch butterfly can lay eggs on. Isabel's photography of the chrysalis illustrated how a jewel like structure exists in nature. Those who saw her macro photographic images could hardly believe Natures beautiful perfection taking place in backyards for all to see. She took her photos and knowledge learned about the metamorphosis process and freely volunteered her time as a lecturer and field guide at local spots, including the Roosevelt School in inner city Bridgeport, the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy. Of sound mind and in good health until the fall of 2014, Isabel Gordon was a stalwart member of the "The High Tide Club", a social group of friends who swim at high tide at Westport's Burying Hill Beach between the months of May and November. Isabel believed the constant journey to Long Island Sound for swimming had a restorative life force all its own and she could be seen entering the water with a walker as recently as September 2014. Isabel was a life reader.
Gordon, Isabel Pedersen, “Climbing on a Shadow Ladder,” Westport Public Schools Digital Collections, accessed November 17, 2019, https://collections.westportps.org/items/show/1036.