I think if you check out biographies of many notable artists/musicians/creative-types, you will see that their achievements are the result of a life-long 'trajectory', that started when they were pretty young - before they even realized the path they were on?, they were *on it*.

The same is true for me. ( That doesn't mean I am equal to them, at all - it just means 'the path is the same', for all of us.)

My Mom grew up in Boston, in a household that was thrown into dire economic straits by the premature death of her father/my grandfather. He worked for Cunard Shipping, fell ill while going thru the Panama Canal, and died very quickly thereafter. The remaining family was left penniless, except for a job offer to my uncle from Cunard -
Like so many people who grew up thru the 30's and 40's (experiencing the Depression, and WW2), they sacrificed mightily to see to it that their children should do better than they had done.
My mom was determined to give her kids 'culture', so she packed me, my bro' and sis' in the car, and drove us to anything artistic/culturally enlightening that she could drive to - i was seeing Winslow Homer originals, and Andrew Wyeth, etc, when i was all of 7 or 8...( this was in Maine, hence the choice of artists & destinations...)

My Dad liked to take us on 'driving' vacations - so we went to the Bay of Fundy(Canada), to see the tide go out, and every peak of note in the N.E., and all the historic sites, & all kinds of 'outdoor/natural' things.
So already, before i am 10 years old, the 'threads' that are the foundation of what i do now, were in place...
("art" and "natural things/places"...)

(They never took me to Disneyland - bless their hearts.)

When I was 10, they sent me to a private boarding school, a very good one - St. Paul's School, in Concord, New Hampshire.

One of my earliest memories of the place is of taking a calligraphy class, in a study room that looked out on a babbling waterfallsand was soon studying Latin, and Greek, and French. Didn't think much about it at the time, but in retrospect, studying languages gives one an appreciation of the depth & fluidity of our "human "symbols", be they language, or pictures, or whatever.... which is why i can now look at ...a ladder stuck in the sand, or a windmill, or landscape, and "see" something else, some other metaphor/relationship...

I also started drawing in my early teens, and started really taking 'art' seriously. It was somewhere in this time period that i came across an old Kodak 'Autographic' camera in my dad's desk drawers - It was totally an antique then ( never mind now!).... and i took a few pix w/ it... but stayed primarily interested in 'art' (as in "painting/drawing" etc.).

I 'messed around' alot in the early '70's, and got back to going to school in '74 - i was inspired by a graphic design teacher to go into advertising - it was a way you could do 'creative things' and get *paid for 'em*! (as in "having a job/salary/regular paycheck...) That sounded good to me, so i did it - I also ended up in a photography class, cause the private school had taken care of all the requirements, and i had to fill out the ciriculum... I learned all my 'basic darkroom skills' there. I know my first 50 rolls or so looked like dog****!.... but i kept at it.

Something I read in an ad (of all places) for Fuji film, really struck me, and has remained a guiding principle since then - it was a quote of Joel Meyerowitz:
"I've been down to the harbor a hundred times, but it only looked like this once.." At the time, i lived in 'Old Town' Alexandria, Virginia, which was very quaint/historic/ un-"yuppified" - and very photogenic. I roamed around w/ an old Nikon, and shot whatever struck me... ( From this time onward, i have always had a darkroom of sorts in my home, no matter crude/ "guerrilla" style it was.)

From '76-81, i worked as an advertising art director, and watched every photog i worked with -that was a good education.In '81, I got bored/frustrated w/ advertising, and went into architectural photography.

Shooting architecture leaves one w/ alot of 'down time' due to weather/winter, so i started working w/ things in my darkroom - At this point, a number of things came together - and i started making the kind of montage pix i do now.

It kinda 'took off' from there.

The recession of the early '90's totally cleaned me out - architectural shooting in the Wash., DC area took a nose dive, my income went from $40k to 4k... i threw what i could in my car, and drove west - as far west as possible... and ended up in SF.

The things i was looking for back east, ended up being out here.
And all of what is on my site, has been done in the last 18 years, in California.

 

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