Your Work Should Evolve February 03 2015, 0 Comments
Back in 1989 when I was given my first camera, a Minolta 370 all manual film camera, I had no idea how to use it let alone could I envision a lifetime of work in the photographic industry. But I loved the magic that happened in the darkroom, when a blank sheet of printing paper came alive with what I saw through my view finder. I had no formal education and I often found myself asking others in the field how I could replicate what I had done when a particular image suited my fancy. I remember one time in particular. I had photographed a friend's child. The light bouncing off the sand at the beach was so blinding that all but the child's sweet face and head were blown out of the photo. The result was a beautiful black and white photo that looked like a line drawing. When I asked a friend about it, he laughed at me and said, "You create really cool art because you don't know any better. No-one has educated the creativity out of you." Then he went on to explain "High Key" photography to me. I worked for a long time in portrait photography. I loved my work of Stella, one of the original tap dancing grannies from Esther's Follies in Austin, Texas. I also loved photographing Santa Claus and the self-appointed "Father" John.
For a while, I loved photographing pets. I loved photographing a wedding ONCE. But when the digital age came to fruition, I detested people wanting to change their looks. I had long been taught that photography was about documenting what is. So, I decided to turn to the world's landscape. I indeed love this type of photography. When folks ask me what I do, I tell them, "I listen to the landscape, collect the silence and document what is." I don't mind getting up at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning so that I can be on location when the light comes. I always say that it is the time before the world invades our lives. And after more than twenty-five years, I love my work as much as I did when I started out, maybe even more. I still use all manual settings on my camera and I still sometimes use a hand held light meter just because. My friend Frank Lavelle, says we are dinosaurs and I laugh because I can set an f-stop and a shutter speed with dead on precision, no meter needed.
But as I enter this next phase of my life, I have once again added to my resume another area of work, photo-documentaries. It is a natural off shoot of my travel, now adding the written word to accompany the photographic stories I have been seeking out over the past few years while on travel shoots. My work is once again evolving, something I take both pleasure and pride in.
I hope to publish some of these photo-documentaries in the next year or so. I have gone after some difficult topics. Some are topics that many people would like to shield their eyes from. But we live in a time where cannot afford the luxury of ignoring outdated policies, human suffering, or the simple fact that we often do not treat one another very well.
I have come to believe that I am in this industry to share not just the beauty, but the truth, which is the next chapter in my photography.