This is the debut of a new monthly series on thisistheBronX WEEKDAY MAGAZINE. Once each month Bronx writer and frequent contributor Deborah Eiseman will profile an outstanding Bronxite.
by Deborah Eiseman
June 5, 2019
I opened the book entitled, World of Shells. It’s creator, Bronxite Dinorah Capota has published two exquisite books of photographs she has taken featuring beautifully staged shells. Her first book, World of Infrared is a fusion of figures, street photography and landscapes in black and white infrared. Dinorah is a true photographic artist. I was amazed at the complexity and beauty of her work.
She says, “The infrared photography exposes the unseen, the world behind the world, an encounter with a different kind of light perceived through a different lens.”
The infrared measures the temperature of the object and it shows cold as black and hot as white in the processing. Color can be layered onto the photograph when it is developed.
Born in the Dominican Republic, she and her family emigrated to the United States in 1970. Dinorah had an aptitude in math and science; she liked to see how things worked. For example, as a curious child, she took her talking dolls apart and put them back together in order to see what made the dolls speak. She attended Pratt Institute of Brooklyn majoring in Chemical Engineering. In order to earn money for school she tutored a visually-impaired student in mathematics.
After graduation, she moved to Texas and worked for Texaco. Union workers had a strike in 1980 and she was working twelve hours a day, seven days a week in the chemical plant. She was the first and only woman engineer at that time in Texaco.
“I had to supervise forty five men,” she said.
She returned to New York and married her college sweetheart, Sorin, a Romanian she’d met in college and maintained a long-distance romance.
Over the years, the technology in chemical engineering had changed and Dinorah decided to enter a new field to become a lab specialist and a teacher obtaining a Master Degree in Education. She taught Chemistry and Earth Science at The High School for Law and Public Service, later worked as a lab specialist at Evander Childs HS and at The David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy (JHS/HS 141).
When asked how she described herself, she said she wasn’t competitive with others, only with herself. She’s self-sufficient, a restless thinker who is always looking to expand her knowledge.
After she had a daughter, she became a stay-at-home mom for fourteen years. When asked about how she viewed her retirement, she said that time has shifted.
She admitted that a woman can be invisible, dominated by the roles of mother and wife. She feels retirement offers her the time to emerge as herself.
She described her work as going to Playland where she had numerous equipment that she played with in order to train the science teachers how to safely use the equipment in the laboratories with the students.
Her plans for the future,
“I want to keep creating photography and mastering new techniques,” she said.
Deborah Eiseman is a novelist and feature writer for thisistheBronX WEEKDAY MAGAZINE. She retired from teaching at DeWitt Clinton High School. She is presently hard at work on her third novel, What Winter Has Stolen. It will be available for purchase in 2020.
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