About Me

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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer has been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a weekly blog about photography in New England.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Done! Retirement and Discipline


Some years ago I captured a picture of a broken down and decaying farm implement descending into the earth of a field in Vermont. I glibly entitled the image "Retirement". Hilarious! But now after 34 years of the practice of pulmonary and internal medicine in rural New Hampshire and Vermont, I find myself wandering out into that overgrown field and wondering where I go from here. My final day of clinical practice was a little over a week ago. I have been looking forward to this day for some time, anticipating the opportunity to devote more effort to my photography and other interests. I am relishing the ability to sleep late and control the pace of my activities, but I'm also sadly aware of the inevitable losses and the need to apply self-imposed discipline to my future endeavors.

Saying Goodbye
Halloween Deb &  Katy

 I will greatly miss the support and friendship of my staff and the interaction with MOST of my patients. Following the announcement of my retirement, I have enjoyed my office "farewell tour" receiving many expressions of appreciation, best wishes and a tsunami of hugs from so many of my friends who just happen to have also been my patients. It is greatly reassuring to know that I am handing them over to
Donna Pushing the Calendars
the excellent care of the physicians and staff of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene Pulmonary Medicine Department, but I hope I can be excused for pointing out that it will take two physicians and a future associate provider to do what I did by MYSELF for nearly 30 years, both in Keene New Hampshire and Brattleboro, Vermont. Of course I was never really "by myself". I could have done nothing without the constant support of the amazing group of women who kept me on task and who managed the endless details of a busy practice. They told me where to sign and I signed. 

"Better Breathers" Heading Out to Cruise Lake Winnepesaukee
Donna Keeping Me on Track
For several years it has been a clinic tradition to recognize retiring
employees with a "retirement tea". The proceedings includea cake and the presentation of a framed print of one of my photographs. It has been nice to contribute to the honoring of so many loyal staff, but I never felt the honor so acutely as when I was presented with one of my own pictures at my 'tea'. What were they to do? Give me someone else's photograph? At least I will be able to celebrate the closing of the circle when I sell the image back to the clinic with the next batch.



So I'm done. What to do now? Obviously photography. Over the last years as my commitment to photographing my special corner of New England has increased I have longed for more time to pursue both the creative and marketing side of the art. After years of struggling over daily decisions which, not to be too dramatic, involved varying levels of life or death consequences, I look forward to the time when my most portentous quandaries are over the choice of f-stop or the selection of an image to submit to a juried exhibition.

 For years retired friends and patients have told me the same thing, "Now that I'm retired, I have no time whatsoever". I have already become aware of the tendency to take everything slower now that I have a less dictatorial schedule. It is lovely to know that if I don't accomplish everything on my daily "to do" list that there is always tomorrow. But there lies the trap, and, knowing myself, I am certain that I will need concrete long and short term goals and a plan to reach them. So here goes.


Long Term:
Photography. Ok, no surprise here. I would like to use my time to expand my vision, not only to include broader coverage of my
New England home base, but also to explore aspects of photography beyond my landscape comfort zone. I have always been drawn to the study of the human face and I would love to delve more deeply into portraiture. It has been my honor to be a member of the New England Photography Guild. The Guild is undergoing a reassessment of its goals and I hope to be part of an expanded commitment to use the great expertise of our members to celebrate the unique beauty of our region and to share our appreciation of high quality photography through classes and workshops. Of course, I will continue my work with the Chesterfield Conservation Commission to protect and promote the natural beauty of my wonderful New England home. Oh, and I better mention that I promised Susan to try to bring some order to my chaotic office and studio.  I can rely on her to keep me on task for that one.

Shorter Term
Given my innately lazy nature some degree of discipline will be required. I have been actually retired for all of about a week, so it is undoubtedly early to formulate a detailed list of retirement resolutions, but here is a quick and preliminary list of some of the goals that I would like to place on my new "task list".

  • Up for sunrise at least once per week. I am old and lazy, but I can no longer use the standard excuse; " I have to get to work today".
  • At least one sunset per week. Much easier to manage.
  • In the studio one day per week or at least a half day to produce physical work.
  • Out of town trip at least once per month.
  • Office promotional work once per week, although lately this seems to consuming most of my time.
  • Blog weekly. I'm approaching 200 blog articles and finding new topics is not getting any easier.
  • Gym at least 3 times per week.  The secret to exercising is just showing up.

Settled In - NOT at the Gym


That's a start, but please don't keep track of the success of my program. After putting this article together I know one early goal should be to try to get more pictures of broken down farm machinery for my portfolio, but I'm retired, and if I don't get it done today, there is always tomorrow. 

Jeffrey Newcomer

1 comment:

  1. A great new task list - catching a sunrise and sunset is top priority at least once a week after missing so many. Photography is an excellent way to spend your retirement time - some great pics here. It also feels good just to breathe and be for awhile when you retire.