I picked up my first camera at age seven, my father’s simple Ansco Cadet. My interest in photography flourished throughout my adolescence. I set up a darkroom in the basement. By the time I was fifteen, I worked after-school jobs to indulge my interest. I ended up buying several second and third-hand cameras, from 35mm up to an 8 x 10 view camera. By the time I graduated high school, I realized photography would be a lifelong pursuit.
My post-secondary education started at the University of Missouri. Known for its journalism school, my intention was to major in photojournalism. One day, I summoned up the nerve to show the chairman of the department my portfolio. He brusquely commented that my photographs had a fine-art bent and that art school would be a better fit.
The following year, I transferred to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Ironically, I took only one photography class throughout the next three years. My art school curriculum gravitated towards filmmaking and building sculptures that explored visual phenomena and perception. That work catalyzed my interest in the bourgeoning art and technology genre.
A fascination with visual perception carried over to my studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There I learned about the subject on a deeper level. I also learned, while participating in a class experiment, that I have monocular vision—an inability to perceive three-dimensional space. It’s no surprise I gravitated towards photography at an early age—I see the world much the same way a photograph appears. After earning my degree, I continued working at MIT as a research fellow. I began experimenting with making virtual artwork, images that were only visible as fleeting afterimages.
Following my time at MIT, I began working as a freelance photographer specializing in complex analog photographic imaging. As for fine art pursuits, I began experimenting with computers to capture and print true color photographic prints—not an easy task considering my platform was one of the original Macintosh computers (512K RAM, tiny 512 x 512 1-bit monochrome monitor, and a dot matrix printer loaded with a four-color cloth ribbon). The experimentation yielded a body of work that was ultimately shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.
By the late 1980s, I transitioned from photography to video production, 3D animation, and special effects. From a technology standpoint, this was a pivotal time, as analog processes were giving way to digital. By the mid-1990s, I became disenchanted with commercial work and looked for other options.
Eventually, I stumbled into a career in tactical marketing and business development. To my surprise, I enjoyed business and discovered that my creativity enabled me to rise and prosper in the field. During that period, I hardly touched a camera. But after a decade, I grew restless and after some soul searching, opened a photo studio in central Florida.
I also started making art again. I loved the flexibility of digital photography. It was wonderful not having to spend hours in a darkroom laboring over trays filled with stinky chemicals. I bought my first wide-format printer then, and from there I was hooked and committed to becoming a master printer.
Looking back at my body of artwork and how it’s evolved over the decades, some overarching patterns become apparent. 1) I am a meticulous craftsman dedicated to experimentation. 2) My tendency is to work single-mindedly on a given series, tending not to become distracted with other projects, no matter how tempting. 3) It takes months and sometimes years of plodding before I’ll fully grasp the process and fully understand my intentions behind a series. 4) I work serially. Once I conclude a body of work, I push myself to go off into a different direction. By doing so, I challenge myself to stretch my creativity and acquire new skills.