I’ve always been a loner. From a very early time in my life, I found peace and happiness, staring at scenes, small critters in swamps, birds hunting, water flowing, patterns in the sand……. When others were playing baseball, I was more likely drifting in a small boat, watching the bottom of Puget Sound, or mucking about in a swamp, pursuing frogs. Often, in nature, I saw compositions that seemed “perfect”, but could never put them in words.
I also had a fascination with trains, and rode with my father regularly, he was a conductor on freight trains. I wanted to capture these trains, so learned a bit about photography. Dad had quite an influence on me here, as he was a serious amateur photographer himself. I quickly found that those “perfect compositions” I could never describe, were meant for photography!
After high school, I went through commercial photography school, thinking to make my living this way. I gained a fair mastery of the technical end of optics, chemistry, composition and other facets of the trade here. But, that loner in me tended to get in the way. Always able to learn well from books and experience, I was a poor college student. I spent more time doing photography (playing out in nature?) than studying.
After a few years of off and on college, I worked in photo studios and also in camera sales. Neither were very fulfilling. I found that doing photography professionally, took all the joy away. In the true meaning of the word, I was an amateur, which originally meant a lover of what one was doing, as opposed to a professional, doing it for pay. I tended to work until I was ahead enough to go do what I loved. Broke, it was back to work and repeat.
Fast forward 30 years: During all this time, I often heard, “Why don’t you market these photos?” I can only say that I wasn’t ready. Maybe I just wasn’t mature enough, anyway, I’m ready now. For the most part, these last 30 years, my wife and I have lived in remote places, always in the northwest, some of the most beautiful places on the planet!
Having worked with formats from 8×10 view camera on down to 35mm, I’ve finally moved to all digital work. Whether working from my previous images, scanned and printed, or from fresh DSLR images, I feel the quality of digital imaging has surpassed the chemical darkroom!
Although my photography is much influenced by the work of other photographers, especially Edward Weston, my biggest influence is still, that desire to show, what I could never put in words, when I was very young. With form, texture, black and white, or color, and always composition, I’ve tried to capture the sense of wonder I’ve always felt, when viewing one of those “perfect compositions” I could never describe.