Creatures of habit, we move through our days reliant on visual short-hand. We see so little of what there is to see, and most of that gets dismissed as soon as we put a name to it, subjecting the visual to the tyranny of the verbal.
Close your eyes.
Commit to losing language if only for a moment. Now open your eyes... slowly... as if for the first time.
Look - resist the urge to control by naming what you see. Now look again - like a curious child. And again. And again... And this is the beginning of how I make my photographs.
I taught myself photography by walking the same Ann Arbor streets day after day with a big borrowed Nikon camera. Every afternoon I loaded a roll of film in the camera, made 36 exposures, developed the film, and ate dinner while waiting for the film to dry. I then spent each evening struggling in the darkroom to fashion photos that would tell the external stories about where I had been, what I had seen that day. And then, over time, having overcome the errors of my first and only twenty minutes of formal instruction, and having sorted out, in a messy, seat-of-the-pants sort of way, I taught myself the basics of darkroom print-making, I became intent on relating, in more and more intimate terms, not just what I had seen, but what it felt like to be there.
Looking to find something common, archetypical, universal and emotionally true by, paradoxically, being completely where I was – trying to tell a story about a specific place, for a fraction of a second of very specific time.
I spent years as a photojournalist trying to do exactly that. Reflecting back to a community an image of itself. Reminding folks of what they knew, and bringing them images of what they had missed.
Now, as a fine art photographer, it is my task to bring the full range of sensory experience to each image. Each photograph implicitly asks, why do I exist? To tell what story? How can I translate into a fixed, 2 dimensional space made of a rectangle and its defining frame, the smells, the sounds, the beating heart of undifferentiated experiences?
I humbly offer you these photographs where I have tried to do just that. Having given each one its distinctive narrative voice, I hope you enjoy looking at them. I hope they engage you. I hope at least one of them speaks to you in a way that prompts you to answer back. And I hope those first words hold promise of a lengthy and worthwhile conversation. And when so engaged, I hope you would like to own some of them.
Each one is an invitation to participate in a story. I begin each tale – some fraction of a second of my experience of the world – and offer you the opportunity to spend years authoring the story’s end.