This time around...
My photographs have no separate existence from the people, places, and events of my life. My interest in photography first manifested when I moved to Yosemite National Park. How could I not be influenced by Ansel Adams? And to no lesser extent, Tim Arnst? Together we converted a steamy storage closet into a darkroom, where we spent hours teaching ourselves the finer(?) points of black and white. On national park tour with Barbara, my bride-to-be, Kodachrome was King, but exposing chromes for snow was a mystery. India with Karl Baba yielded some of my favorite images, and accelerated my spiritual journey. Marketing DTP to the creative community while at Apple Computer squeezed camera time to zero, but photography was never out of mind, thanks to Steve Schaffran, as we pioneered the first digital transmission and use of color photos in newspapers. 10 years later I would pick up the camera again, this time to chronicle two different treks to Ladakh. In this ancient Buddhist land, I spent weeks in constant amazement of the land, the people, and the ubiquitous expressions of their spirituality. Upon my return, start-ups kept my now much-abused Pentax on the shelf. As Dylan once lamented, I was "burned out from exhaustion", and after a few more years, I was called back to Yosemite. There, in a moment of clarity I realized that photography was a constant that shaped my life, and re-committed myself to the one way I could blend art and technology, and more importantly, give expression to my appreciation of the infinite beauty that surrounds us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why don't you mat your prints?
Well, I'm a photographer, not a professional framer or mat-cutter. I think that matting and framing is an art. My recommendation is: choose, don't settle for a standard museum white mat and black frame. If that is what works best for you, fine; but don't assume that is all there is...go see a professional - they can help you make the image look even better in your particular viewing environment.
Other photographers offer limited editions. Do you?
Generally, no. Limiting editions is a great way to increase the "value" of an image. This clearly is critical for galleries, which have higher costs, etc. Galleries as distributors and promoters of art play an important role, but at the potential cost to the artist of limiting the number of people who might enjoy their art. It's the whole volume/price thing...While I'm not adverse to distributing my work via galleries, and thus creating limited editions of some of my work, my overall goal is to create art that people can actually afford to put on their walls! Much of my thinking about this has been greatly influenced by Brooks Jensen, who publishes LensWork. Each of my images is numbered, and comes with information about the edition and the printing, including how many in each printing.
Are your images real? Do you manipulate them?
Yes, they are "real", and yes, I manipulate them. These are questions that seem to get asked a lot these days. The question usually speaks to the conflict that exists between people's perception that photography by definition captures "reality", and that digital manipulation is so easy that they don't trust what they see as being "real". The second version of the question is easier for me to answer than the first, since I can avoid philosophical entanglement and just say "of course!" I manipulate the image from just before I raise the camera to my eye to the moment the ink hits the paper. I sometimes spend quite a bit of time coaxing all that I saw and felt out of a sensor or a piece of film (enhancing it) and into a print.
"Felt?" Well, if you've read this much, I guess we can get a bit deeper into it...even if you don't have the time or inclination to consider what "reality" is, you might be willing to admit that most of what we do with this so-called "reality" is manipulate it. With our minds. With our imagination. With our senses. Well, that's what I do, too- I call what I see, feel, touch, taste, smell, and imagine at a given moment in time "my reality". When I am moved by my reality, I try to capture the full multi-dimensional experience with a camera and lens. The lens imposes a specific point of view, the sensor interprets "reality" as a bunch of zeros and ones, and film does the same with chemicals; in the digital darkroom, I try to re-capture the "reality" as best I can, without making the image seem "unreal". Is it real? It is to me. Is it art? Up to you.