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.
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.
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.