ABOUT THE ARTIST
My present photographic interests in snapping water with all its fascinating, gravitational properties and configurations along with backgrounds began as a child when I summered in
Gloucester, Mass. Curiosity continued as I rowed at Groton and at Yale. In high school I engaged in printing the newspaper—no computers. Lead lettering, inked and then pressed, had to be continually re-melted to form new letters, which were once again formed up for the next press run. It was this combining of analytical approaches with intuitive aesthetic decision-making which carried over to my interests in photography. My visual attraction to architecture, especially bridges and cathedrals, began when I spent two consecutive summers in Great Britain, first: working in a Liverpool community center, and second: balancing accounts at a London branch of Barclays Bank. Off work, I visited sites and realized the narrative found in historical bridges and crumbling ruins. My decades of practicing law slowed me down from acquiring a love of photography earlier, but I managed to be creative in other ways. I designed and built a 24 x32 foot vacation cabin (sadly burned in a forest fire). Except for the Sono-tube foundation that was professionally constructed, I drove/hauled all the wood 80 miles to the lake where I hammered every nail and cut every asphalt shingle. Although we had our Anchorage house built, much of the interior: book shelving and furniture I personally constructed, and continue to do. Similar to my law practice, all this woodworking requires dimensional perception, rational thinking in combination with intuitive decisiveness. Although I have done point/shoot photography since I was given a Brownie camera as a child, I got my first ‘SLR’ to help my wife, Jean, shoot pictures for her art columns. Trips to Europe and Asia to attend Jean’s art critic conferences has allowed me to discover more bridges, ruins, waterways and thus historic narratives. As an avid reader, learning the history of objects, I snap, allows me to impart more emotion into my photographs beyond just manipulating the many buttons found on digital cameras. I look for the story in a composition.
An SLR-digital camera allows me to experiment when I am at my favorite sites: bridges, ruins and waterways. Taking photos for my wife Jean’s art columns provides me with a deadline, which forces me to move to the next project, even if I’m not completely satisfied with what I have just re-sized. With Formalism intersecting and colliding with the Contextual, having an analytical background from years of practicing law is very helpful. Also acquiring intuitiveness coming from handling bankruptcy cases, which often needs approaches not be found in my library of law books, has also come in handy when faced with a camera that doesn’t seem to be producing the expected visual it was assigned to snap. Like ‘staged photography’ which was popular in the late Nineteenth Century, it is arguable my work depicting bridges and ruins could be construed as theatrical or a tableaux. However, by changing the camera’s angle the historic object becomes unique to me. Charles Sheeler’s Criss-Crossed Conveyors, River Rouge Plant, Ford Motor Company (1927) draws attention to the oppression and overwork bestowed upon laborers beyond merely the composition
because of the unusual angles depicted. Bernd and Hila Becher’s photographs of Water Towers, 1972, reveal the ambiguities of industrialism’s ugliness versus its necessity as cautioned by Heidegger. Today, we might also assume a Climate Change metaphor, when treating steel structures as portraiture. Michael Snow’s film: Wavelength, 1967, where the camera creeps across a SoHo warehouse, tripping over an alleged murder scene, only to land on a common postcard of only ocean waves, pinned to a wall. Viewers are left to contemplate the camera as
protagonist. Water as subject matter can be very fickle-- a good way to attempt to understand the irrationalities of photography.