I've always been an artist. An MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute made it "official" in 1987. I was Assistant Art Director, then Art Director of the biggest Boys and Girls Club west of the mighty Mississippi. I've had three years, in San Francisco, of being Art Director of the Whitney Young Cultural Center, a huge gallery and performance venue in the Haight Ashbury. I've taught at The San Francisco Art Institute, the San Francisco Academy of Art and other schools.
When I came to the Morongo Basin in 2006, I realized that this land, like SF, was a MAGIC place - but a few of the inhabitants were unaware of it! Most of the artists got it, of course; you have to have some sensitivity to be good at art; but some others wanted to do horrendous things like dump garbage, string power lines, build big boxes and generally obliterate the surreal desert landscape, past cultures and ancient life forms!
So, this show is about magic; just the everyday surrealism I notice as I live here in this wonderful area. It's my hope that, by calling attention to the miracles that surround us, I can help to cause a deeper appreciation of what we have here - and help preserve it!
An old photographer once said “Painters have such an easy time, they can paint a landscape any way they want, to create the composition they desire. Photographers have to work with what’s already there”.
As a painter, I have enjoyed the blank slate freedom that painting affords. However, I revel in the challenge of “working with what’s already there”.
The biggest challenge of the Nature & Landscape Photographer is showing the beauty and serenity within the chaos of the natural world. The bejeweled spider web after a heavy dew, the startling halo of thorns surrounding a cactus in early morning light.
When I see a potential subject, the first question I ask myself is “What am I taking a picture of?”
A story or concept?
The answer(s) to this question instructs me on what technique(s) to use to strengthen the vision I have for that particular subject. Expose for the highlights? Get low to obtain a contrasting background? Circle the subject to line up the cracks in the ground to capture the viewers eye rather than have them drift out of the composition. Is there a pattern within a pattern? What emotions are evoked from the viewer by the color in the scene? What happens to the relationship of the foreground and background by moving the camera side to side or up and down? How do I enhance the sense of a third dimension within a two-dimensional medium?
Do I want to create visual tension or serenity through my compositional decisions?
This is where the Art of Landscape Photography lives for me. I do not take pictures for biology textbooks. My job as a Photographer/Artist is to share my pre-visualized art effectively, beautifully and seamlessly.
One viewer said “After looking at your work, I have begun to see in a different way”. That is the greatest complement I could ever receive.
My hope is you are surprised, delighted and inspired by the deep beauty within the natural world. May my work add a small measure to your understanding of our place in this space.