A Bit About Why Photography

If I could fully describe why I photograph I suspect I would give up the medium all together. Fortunately, things aren't that easy. The course of my life seems to always come back to the same driving principle — a desire to live deeply engaged in the universality of life, the grand mystery that unites us all.

I strive to capture fleeting moments that resonate as metaphors for what I yearn for in my self. That yearning began in college during road trips through the deserts and canyons of the American Southwest. I was drawn to photography as the creative medium to express what I was discovering and feeling. A self-admitted romantic and traditionalist, much of my work still revolves around analog photography. I find film, chemistry, and the uniquely tactile workflow of the wet darkroom essential.

View camera poses with his trusty servant, Douglas.
View camera poses in Zion with his trusty servant, Douglas.

My inspiration is largely the natural world, particularly the American West. I value intimacy of place, returning frequently to the mystical canyons of Zion National Park or the mythical Bristlecone Pine groves of the White Mountains — landscapes where I've found a deep communion with subject matter that has taught me much about myself. The learnings and the associated photographic images are tied to the acuteness of my receptivity, a discipline of letting go that is both elusive and frustrating.

When I am out photographing, I often enter into a struggle working to release the order and logic that routinely governs my daily life. I'm attempting to enter into a deep conversation with my surroundings and subject matter. For me, the process is a meditation, a "non-effort" in becoming fully present and engaged in my immediate surroundings. On a good day, struggle finds inspiration. Yet, as Edward Weston intimated, inspiration is just 5% of the journey.

The remaining 95% is an effort in combining my knowledge and experience to create an optimal composition (the photograph) that effortlessly communicates the inspiration. Often, after exploring an image in a myriad of possibilities, I realize the image simply cannot be worked out. I acknowledge the experience with a bow and walk away. After many years, the bows don't get any easier.

Snow, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite
One of those days when it all flowed so effortlessly.

But then there are moments where it all flows so effortlessly, I feel I'm riding the waves of some magical omnipotent power that's taken temporary favor of me. And I remember what Ansel said, sometimes you do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter.