WATERVIEWS: From West Meadow Beach to Mt. Sinai Harbor Is a Perfect Summertime Gift

by Liz Kaplan

Port Jefferson resident Fran Zak has put together a perfect book to savor on a hot summer’s day – one that would be welcome in any home, and especially so along the north shore of Long Island, where Zak puts her camera to work. This collection of photographs of neighboring beaches, ponds, and the Sound in early morning light or at sunset, in all seasons of the year, will soothe a viewer’s frazzled spirit. We are there again – savoring the fading light at dusk at West Meadow Beach; observing the white cranes on Flax Pond, its grassy marshland home to sea and land animals at rest; taking delight in children daring the tide to cover a sandbar on which they play; observing fishermen in Frank Melville Park, hip-high in search of carp.

The book offers far more than photographs of beautiful waterviews. Brief text provides welcome information – about the water but also about marine and land animals that also caught her eye. Snapshots of wild iguanas, allow us to observe these fascinating, elusive creatures at close range.

I would have liked the author to provide a map so the reader can visit and enjoy each waterview in person. That said, in this collection of photographs, from Stony Brook Harbor to Mt. Sinai’s Cedar Beach, Zak has sought and captured the essence of the beauty that keeps us feasting our eyes on the waterviews so close to our homes and hearts.  


DEIA: Paradise for Artists

by Robert Douglas
The Mediterranean Review

Deia is a small peasant village on the island of Mallorca in Spain. For many years it has attracted artists and writers. In recent years it has attracted many foreigners, perhaps too many, and it is no longer a very simple place, but it is still incredibly beautiful, and the peasant heritage is still visible.Fran Zak took on the difficult task of capturing the heart and soul of this village in her photographs. It is not history or travel notes; it is a look at everyday life and eternal natural beauty. It opens with a woman sweeping the sidewalk in front of her house, something that has been done for hundreds of years on this island. She steps back to look at the local grocery store, the church, and even the cats on a terrace. She gives special attention to the olive trees and the surrounding mountains and, of course, the eternal Mediterranean Sea. Beauty is everywhere, and the reader of this book feels it.


PORT JEFFERSON: Portrait of a Village 
Fran Zak’s Newest Book Encapsulates a Community

by Liz Kaplan 

Author and photographer Fran Zak has done it again. She has produced another beautifully photographed ode to the delights of North Shore living.

Last year’s Waterviews: From West Meadow Beach to Mt. Sinai Harbor, reminded us of the many ways in which Mother Nature has endowed us with a soul-enriching, restorative environment. This year’s evocation of life on the north shore focuses on one village out of many delightful ones that border Long Island Sound. In Port Jefferson: Portrait of a Village, Zak offers us a collection of more than eighty of her photographs, with her text and commentaries...She captures the human footprint stamped on this lovely seaside town. We see people enjoying...architecture to delight the eye, small-town shops offering wares of big-city sophistication, or charming antiques; residents thriving in a warm and welcoming village, bustling with tourists in summer or at holiday time, cozy and laid back in winter.

Photos highlight the familiar, public face of Port Jefferson throughout the year: Families seated curbside watching the Police Department’s Emerald Society Bagpipe Band in the annual Memorial Day Parade; shoppers selecting fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings; young and not-so-young skaters on the rink alongside the Village Center…

Zak includes photographs of sculptures along the waterfront, beloved by natives and intriguing tourists. They pay tribute to the village’s maritime history and survey the many boats that enter and leave the harbor, including, today, the huge white ferries crossing to and from Bridgeport, CT.  In the small park along East Broadway, adjacent to, and west, of Danford’s Inn, stands a small white statue of a lone 19th century seaman…To the east of Danford’s Inn, in Harborfront Park, stand a grouping, designed by James C. Smith, of four sandstone shipyard workers toting the steel frame of a vessel in the making that may well sail around the world.

An undated map of Port Jefferson's harbor area, and a Travellers Map of Long Island, dated 1857, bracket the vibrant color images of the village today.

Either singly or as a set, Zak’s two books make perfect gifts for the holidays to anyone who treasures memories of Port Jefferson’s past and present. They should grace the coffee tables of residents who wish to make clear to guests just why they’ve chosen to live here. 


HERE AND THERE: An Artist's Presence

by Paula Tran
San Antonio, Texas

If I were compelled to describe Here and There: Paintings by Fran Zak in only three words, I would choose "vivid," "evocative," and "serene," words that, upon initial consideration, may appear oxymoronic, but in this case ring with truth. Her palette is dramatic, strong, singing nature’s song, and each painting “narrates” a powerful story, sharing Zak’s life experiences with her audience. Blessed with unique vision and artistic discipline, Zak paints, as she writes, with passion, flair and confidence. An afternoon – or, better yet an evening -- meandering with her, Here and There, through the island villages of Port Jefferson and Mallorca is time well spent. And don’t miss the whimsical concluding painting in this totally beautiful volume. It’s priceless!