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Member of the Month November 2019
My early large format black and white work explored the suburban landscape. It was the environment I was living in. I would often create photographs with a dividing line in the center of the image. A telephone pole, a tree, or a wall would divide the image into two equal halves.
My new work joins two separate images together to create one cohesive photograph with a line in the center. The line where the two images meet is for me the most exciting part of the resulting photograph. Combining two (often unrelated) images creates the opportunity to play colors, textures, and composition off of each other. I am thrilled when I find images that develop a strong relationship to each other. Joining images together changes them in ways that continually surprises and delights me.
Some of my work joins a single image with its mirrored twin. The resulting photograph is a symmetrical piece of fiction. What I find so interesting is that while I know this symmetrical scene did not exist in real life, my brain wants to read the photograph as real. I imagine that this is similar to my brain seeing water in the desert when what is really there are heat waves. The mind’s eye wants to put together what we see as a cohesive and logical whole, a mirage.
Sometime I click the shutter with the intention of making a mirrored photograph. Other times the mirroring comes long after the original image was recorded. For me the interest I have in my subjects is enhanced when the images are mirrored or joined to another image.
I was born is New York city in 1957 and grew up in California’s Santa Clara Valley. My love of photography was encouraged by a high school photography teacher. He introduced me to black and white darkroom technique that became the dominant interest of my teenage life. I threw myself into my role as the school darkroom assistant and was soon cutting all my academic classes so I could make photographs. When school officials came looking for me my photography teacher would hide me in the darkroom. He became a close friend, and collaborator. On weekends we would take our view cameras to Point Lobos and stop in at the Friends of Photography Gallery (now the Center for Photographic Art) in Carmel.
The gift of photography that my teacher gave me at 16 has stayed with me my entire life. In my twenties I ran a community college photography lab and a for-profit photography lab and gallery, all the while entering juried shows with black and white photographs from 4×5 negatives. In my thirties my wife and I started a family. I was never much good at doing things half way so photography took a back seat to being a parent. I still saw the photographs in my mind, I just didn’t record them.
In my fifties my last child left home and I picked up photography where I had left off years before. Instead of an old wooden view camera and spot meter I carry a DSLR. Although I loved working in the darkroom, I love even more the speed, flexibility and options of digital image making. I also like that my fingers don’t smell like fixer.