“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is thereby a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.” - Ansel Adams
"Art is the affirmation of life" - Alfred Steiglitz
Photography has been my primary medium for creativity and art for the last 35 years.
I started doing photography when I was 5 yrs old (before piano and music studies). My first photographs that I still remember making, when I was five, were of Bronx Zoo animals, mostly in very plain bare enclosures. They were made with a Baby Brownie Special (my first camera) and b/w 127 film. I made a book of my pictures after my mom had them developed and printed. Those photos were long ago lost, but having them to look at as a kid allowed me to reflect on each, even though I didn't know the words then for my feelings.
When I was a kid photography was for me part of being a naturalist and scientist. Using a small camera and an exposure meter. Recording home lab experiments, science projects, museum trips, specimens collected, exploring our backyard, and in the woods and fields and ponds near our house. Making notebooks with pictures and photos pasted in, about my world.
The first photographer whose collected work I was able to see was Eliot Porter in the book In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World (a gift from my mom, 1963). Color nature studies of the New England woods (which were very similar to the woods near my home) and quotes by Henry David Thoreau.
I did no photography (or art) during the time I pursued serious music study, composition and performance (1967-1977). In 1978, I began doing photography again, mostly nature, and some nudes, and at the same time started composing and doing sand drawings. All "assignments from within", many continuing to the present.
To learn the craft of photography, I studied Ansel Adams 3 volumes on photography, as well as prints in his books (especially Yosemite and the Range of Light). Doing manual film photography for many years made me think about how to see and create pictures - pre-visualize, composition, making an exposure, and printing as interpretation. And about creating meaning and feeling. Slowly, with care. Film camera formats: 35mm, medium (6x6cm, 6x7cm), and 4x5 view camera film photography (using 1928 and 1950's Speed Graphic’s - the iconic portrait and press camera when I was a baby, and both new and antique lenses) and subsequently using film scanners and Photoshop (1992), and then digital cameras (2003).
Photography and art influences include Ansel Adams, Elliot Porter, Walker Evans, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, "Life" magazine and "The World We Live In,"" "National Geographic" magazine, and the books of Rachel Carson. And the painters Juan Miro, Paul Klee, the 19th Century American landscape painters whose landscapes showed nature as a revelation of spiritual meaning (see my note "natural histories" for more), and the rock art and imagery (petroglyphs, pictographs) of Native Americans and prehistoric Europeans (see my notesand drawings" for more).
Between 1976 and 1992 I worked professionally, in part, on scientific and engineering image processing systems. While working with a team producing a computer controlled real time digital video synthesis and processing system, I created a number of digital still pictures from original photographs (1979-1980).
Creating sand drawings, and multi-image forms - two or more pictures placed together to create fields of meaning(s), started in 1978. Influenced by the rock art (petroglyphs, pictographs) of Native Americans, prehistoric Europeans, and Australian Aboriginals. Art seen as composition over time of multi-image fields containing a superposition of forms and resonant meanings, and placed (created) within a larger natural landscape.
My first (and largest) multi-image "picture book" (visual composition), is our love, begun in 1981 and continuing for over 20+ years. Nature photos and sand drawings alone and placed together. Photographed almost entirely with film (35 mm slides). Conceived as a "book" (an "artist book") of unbound pages (collected in a box). No one bound linear narrative sequence of all of the pages (moments). No one beginning, middle, or end. All the pages (moments) meant to be perceived together as one many-dimensional composite world picture of love and magic and gentleness, and beauty. Meant only for me, not for show; and only partially printed (cibachrome), never fully assembled. It is the predecessor to my photographic works light in the silence and metaphysics. Each, like our love, also conceived as a "book" of unbound pages (moments), meant to be perceived all together as one larger many-dimensional composite world picture.
My first oil and acrylic paintings were done during the summer of 1967. As with photography I did no other art during the time I pursued serious music study, composition and performance. Digital painting, and a return to physical painting (including collecting and preparing my own local natural mineral pigments), started in 1998 with my first light time geographies, after having used painting and illustration software tools for a decade in my professional science and consulting careers.