I'm as fond as anyone of photographing eye-catching scenes but my motivation is more for long, in-depth visual stories. These fine art photographs come from those stories. My life has been bracketed by a rural Pennsylvania valley where I grew up, left to live in the western US, and many years later returned to find the landscape slowly changing. The surprise was what had stayed the same more than the things that had changed. History, land, and transformations have assumed a larger focus in my work, along with my interest in portraits of animals, trying to show each animal's distinct personality.
Even with the innovation of digital I still like the craft of analog photography, particularly when it comes to making a fine print in the darkroom. Photography requires some very precise technical skills including mathematics to come into the physical world, but in order to leap into the viewer's heart it needs a storyteller's passion to communicate. I was educated as an engineer and worked as a darkroom printer including in the difficult dye transfer process. Now I use those skills to large format film cameras and creating handprinted silver gelatin photographs in the darkroom.
Once I’m done I have a representation of my inner thoughts while I was standing there with the camera and I also have something to transfer to the viewer and let them carry on the emotional journey, taking what I gave and adding to it their own experiences and perceptions.
For my fine art photographs I use three film cameras: a Phillips 8x16” ultra-large-format view camera, a 4x5” field view camera, and a medium-format Hasselblad. I work with only the available light and no distortion filters or digital altering. Images are printed by me in a traditional wet darkroom. For documentary work including the anthracite miner series I also use a nikon d750.