I worked in black & white medium format photography from 1998 – 2011. My photography explored themes of “place” (as a repository of memory and symbol, and as a cultural artifact), the passage of time, looking at the forbidden and forgotten. I searched out sites that touch the deeper emotions – places that are hard to look at, or where those in charge don’t want us to see. This was a commitment to finding the “truth” (if there is such a thing) and a reminder of our choices as human beings. My method was to do a kind of street survey, focusing on buildings & industrial warehouses, prisons, train stations, cityscapes, graffiti and architectural details, using ambient light. I studied how people have interacted with their environment and how the space can take on a life of its own, often with ghosts in every corner. Many of my images were of settings that people have left behind like empty skins.
It seemed the world was increasingly a very difficult place to live for so many – perhaps we’ve entered a new dark age – and I needed to focus my attention (and my camera) on social issues, starting right in my own back yard. I began a longterm project, Within a Ten-Mile Radius, that was about really seeing my immediate surroundings, which include many immigrant neighbors, mi barrio Roseland, whatever life looks like within ten miles of my house.
I shot mostly in medium format (6×6 and 6×7) and found myself drawn to both Hasselblad and Holga. I printed in editions of 25, on 11×14 warmtone Ilford fiber paper and archivally tone with selenium. I began a kind of hybrid process: shooting in film, then scanning the negatives and printing with archival inkjet. And, I designed my first artist books, printed digitally and/or with alternative photographic processes, and handbound them.
My visual mentors are Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, August Sander, Keith Carter, Francisco Mata Rosas, Eniac Martínez, Pentti Sammallahti, Simon Norfolk, Sylvia Plachy, John Gossage, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Shimon Attie, Ilse Bing, and various Bauhaus photographers. I am also wildly fond of Kurt Schwitters, Anselm Kiefer, Die Brücke & Der Blaue Reiter, Max Beckmann, Felix Nussbaum, Enrique Chagoya, and the design work & font foundry of Emigre.
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