I WANTED TO BE AN ARTIST
My first photography class hooked me. I was comfortable framing through the camera viewfinder and appreciated the realism I couldn't achieve by painting. While earning a BFA degree in photography at The San Francisco Art Institute, I was strongly influenced by John Collier, a "visual anthropologist" with the WPA in the 1930's. Collier's definition of an artist was "Someone with a unique view of the world who can effectively communicate that vision." He stressed the importance of having a point of view. I took Collier's wisdom to heart. I have a view of the world- we all do. How unique we are depends on many factors. Having a point of view and effectively communicating was the challenge.
Upon graduation from The Art Institute, I traveled throughout the country making photographs and photo essays that represented a personal view of my environment. Influenced by photographers Robert Frank, W. Eugene Smith and Henri Cartier Bresson, I loved photographing "on the street." I saw so much irony in my mid 20-year-old world. I searched for the symbols and images that could allow me to express my view. San Francisco and the Bay Area in the late 1960's and 1970's was an excellent place to explore those images.
After my travels, I returned to the Bay Area and found a place to live in Sausalito, a small tourist town across the Golden Gate from San Francisco. The 7-11 store on Bridgeway was the only store open at night. 24-hours. Everyone in town came into the store at one time or another. Over a period of 6-months, I photographed the customers from the POV of the clerk behind the counter. The "Convenience Store" series was published in LIFE Magazine and Popular Photography Magazine in 1977.
Working in the commercial world required other objectives. I was fortunate to find employment that gave me the opportunity to develop my storytelling abilities. As an artist who wanted to tell stories, journalism would the goal to pursue. In the late 1970's I was contributing photographs to the Point Reyes Light. The "Light," a 3,000 circulation weekly in Northern California, won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in Journalism with its investigation of Synanon when I was there. The 'Light' helped me launch a career in photojournalism. I spent the next 20-years as a news photographer: Stringing for the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and as a staff photographer in the Santa Fe bureau of the Albuquerque Journal. As a photojournalist I found a career that offered me the ability to hone my story-telling skills. My assignments would take me to places that I would never go on my own to find the personal images I was looking for.
I left the news business to embark on a career as a Unit Production Still Photographer in the Television and Motion Picture industry 20+ years ago. What a great place to use the storytelling skills I had learned.
This site is a presentation of images produced over the past 50+ years as a photographer. My latest,"Asheville, North Carolina" is an on-going project as I learn about my new hometown..