I’m a graphic artist, photographer and writer. In terms of graphic art, I’ve done everything from designing and building theater sets to producing some really sharp looking junk mail. Currently, I do graphic design, photography and electronic publishing to pay the bills. My writings and graphic work have appeared in many publications.
I’ve lived in Kentucky since I was sixteen: Hazard, Whitesburg, Lexington, and Louisville. Louisville has become home. I guess those big city lights speak to me too. I’ve spent a lot of time in Eastern Kentucky’s version of Appalachia. I’m not a native, but have the concern and perspective that experience with the region brings. I was born in the cosmic expanse of Texas.
I’ve had a lot of bad influences and irresponsible mentors. Hunter Thompson is from Louisville and I used to date one of his cousins but I seldom shoot my household appliances. Muhammad Ali is from Louisville and you can see what happened to him. At various times I’ve read and been seriously damaged by Hemingway, Faulkner, Kerouac, Thomas Merton (knew some of his friends…), Ginsberg, Plato, Suzuki, Jung (really helped to send me over the edge…), Sartre, Beckett (once played Clove in “End Game”), Kierkegaard, Pound, T.S. Eliot, Updike, Ursula Le Guinn (love her). The Kerouac-Ginsberg-Thompson matrix was the hardest one to break free from. Ran into Ginsberg in a cafe in Boulder and couldn’t think of a thing to say to him. As a kid I read Heinlein, Lois Lenski, Dr. Doolittle, and every comic book I could get my hands on.
I have to admit to a weakness for the great black and white photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Harry Callahan, Walker Evans, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. I still love film and particularly black & white although I do a lot of digital photography. In terms of contemporary photographers, I like Joe McNally a lot, also Michael Kenna, Mark Tucker, and Steve McCurry.
I tend toward realism in my photography. I like pictures in focus with colors and contrast values approximating the real world. The world is very beautiful to me and I don’t need to change it to be satisfied with a photograph. I’m not above manipulating a photo if it suits my purposes, such as applying graphic effects for ad art, but generally, if I can just capture life and the world the way I see it, I’m happy.
With photography, I have always aspired to fine art photography, but the majority of my work is the normal bread-and-butter kind of photography: products, portraits, events and ad fodder. I shoot a lot for the agriculture industry so you are more likely to find me in a soybean field or cow pasture than in a studio on Fifth Avenue. And yes, making a soybean plant look interesting is a creative challenge.
The alchemy of photography has always fascinated me. A photographer, a subject, a camera and the light converge and this new thing, an image, is produced. It represents the subject, but it is always a lot more because it also is shaped by the photographer’s response to the subject, the time and place where it happened, and the meanings brought to it by those who will see the picture in the future. It’s a multi-dimensional chain reaction of vision, feeling, technology, time and nature.
I could go on about this for hours. It is one of my favorite ideas. You can’t think too much about his stuff when you’re shooting because it would hang you up, but it continues to inform me and give a sense of purpose to my photography, regardless of the style or subject matter I’m shooting.
I like Mexican food, dislike German food. Like beer because it’s cheap, dislike wine because it isn’t. Like blue jeans, dislike formal wear. Love boats, hate airplanes. Like fish and cats, love dogs. Love rock and roll, avoid country music. Didn’t go to Vietnam and feel guilty about it. Read about Woodstock in Time Magazine, twice. Received classic liberal arts education, B.A. and M.A., and took eight years to mend from that.
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