Could you introduce yourself?
In 2018 I will turn 60…crazy. I am a retired law enforcement officer of 35 years. Most of the time, as I get older, I am more of a quiet natured person. My wife Lorie is my rock and has been for over 26 years. She has always believed in me and stood by me for better or worse. I have three amazing talented children, Nathan who is 36, Caroline who is 19 and Carson who will be 15 in February. I live in a rural area in Fort Myers Florida. Originally I am from Cincinnati, a city that I have a passion for. I love American history. There is nothing better than to know you are standing right where it happened, same sidewalk or the same spot in the road. What’s your life philosophy? How do you try to apply that to your work?
I have always thought about, and still do, what I will leave behind for people to remember me by. God has blessed me in countless ways. I would like to be remembered as one who was a good witness as His child. It matters most of all what I leave behind for my children, not material things but to know who I was inside and understand me. That I did my best with what I had. If being creative, without words, is how I can do that then I am all for it. Without sounding too conceded though, it would be nice to leave something beautiful and amazing that others might say “wow” too. And if any credit is given it’s because God was in it.
How did you become interested in photography? What started it all?
When I was a kid I liked to draw. At first I wanted to be an artist but then one year my Dad bought me a 35mm camera for Christmas. I took pictures everywhere I went…I have negatives from 1978. I later did a very small amount of wedding photography for friends but that was too much pressure for me. ‘Sorry…your pictures didn’t come out so good…can you do that again?’ I also was a crime scene photographer. Easy subjects…take as many as you need to, “I’m not going anywhere”. Most of the time I took pictures to share with others or create a memory for my family. But sometimes I took pictures for me. How does your environment influence your creative direction?
Generally speaking I usually can find something interesting anywhere I am with a little effort. My wife sent me somewhere last week and said “Take your camera”. I thought it was a boring place to take pictures, birds and water etc. Seen that, done that. Sometimes it’s tough. But I do like the challenge of creating something from practically nothing. I like bits and pieces. I like shadows. I like light. I like patterns. I like to draw the details out of an object or something everyone sees but would not consider it meaningful or give it a second glance. I like to make them see what they didn’t see. Could you tell us a bit about your latest work, could you explain to us the creative process behind it?
If I were to talk about a recent theme it would be hard to do and I don’t want to get caught up in a certain style. I do like urban environments but I don’t really set out with a theme in mind. You know for every 100 pictures you take you may have five that are ok to do something with. I don’t think I know where I am at in the process of when the shutter clicks. My wife often tells me to listen to others when they talk positively about my work. If it wasn’t for someone else I would not be doing this interview. My stuff would just be that…my stuff. I never took it all too seriously and people sometimes get upset with me for that...displaying or showing my work is new to me.
We love that you've focused your current work on a consistent black and white aesthetic, what makes you favor the lack of color?
First let me state that I like black and white photography because it speaks to me more than color does. No mess…shoot it…tell it and move on. Details and in-focus are more important to me than anything. Most of the time I don’t know what the format will result in. I shoot my shots because of settings, shape or form. And secondly (this is not the reason why I like black and white) I am technically color blind. I have what you would call a red and green deficiency. I see primary colors fine, hues and tones a bit problematic. People who know this about me love to quiz me on colors. Put it this way….remember the book with the numbers hidden in the colors…I can only see one or two. I don’t want to be considered a black and white photographer. I am not afraid to use color for my work. I think I succeed in both formats. Besides, the colors speak for themselves. It may be a good thing that I don’t see things like everyone else. If you could sit down and have coffee with anyone you pull inspiration from (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
That is a trick question. I think I would want to sit and speak with anyone who totally cares about something I have a passion for and understands that passion, so we both can squeal out loud together. But on that note I would like to sit down with my mother and let her see and comment on what I create. She was the true artist in my family growing up. And by the way, my daughter Caroline is an amazing artist also. Could you walk us through a day you would deem perfect?
Exploring a city…at the heart of it…where it all began. But at the same time I would be homesick for my family. What are a few of your goals for the upcoming year?
Just have to wait and see. My world is pretty small. This is a grand adventure. Who knows? What makes you happy?
I think I have already answered that somewhere in here lol…I hope you can tell… Any closing comments?
Thank you for this opportunity for me to share a part of my red and green deficiency with the rest of the world. This is exciting. Maybe I can inspire someone else?