Artist's Statement

As a photographer, I am primarily drawn to landscapes that have drama as well as a quiet beauty. As an artist I endeavor to find an organization and flow that conveys feelings and emotions - whether of awe, quiet serenity, drama, wonderment or mystery. I try to capture nature’s designing hand, the forces of time, wind, fire, and water, that shape the landscape as well as shaping man’s artifacts. Sometimes I am drawn to photograph the details of man and nature’s design that are often unobserved, and bring attention to them out of context as abstractions. The use of positive and negative space within the texture and tonalities of the subjects make the images powerful and dynamic.

I feel that when I am exposing the film or sensor of my digital camera my subject matter is the light, and the print tonalities become my vocabulary to communicate to the viewer. Thus, as much as composition and content are vital to a successful image, I feel it is equally important to create images composed of tonal relationships that captivate and communicate to the viewer. In the darkroom I endeavor to produce prints of brilliance and varying tonal palette – images composed of dramatic shadows and highlights, ethereal high key prints, richly layered silvery grays. To me a successful image must be successful at every level, technical, composition, design, and an internal brilliance. Then I feel that a print is able to communicate an emotion and elicits feelings from the viewer.

For over six years, I have explored and photographed the historic American Tobacco Factory (ATF) in downtown Durham, NC, as it has been transformed from 24 acres of neglect to upscale real estate. This project has been fueled by childhood memories of growing up in an inner city of New Jersey, an area rife with abandoned factories and failed urban renewal efforts. While mindful of the toxic product produced by the ATF, I have nonetheless sought to bring forth powerful images that convey with empathy the site where generations of workers earned a living. The extreme lighting conditions of these interior landscapes transform vacant spaces with drama, energy and mystery. My work there has transitioned as the remarkable renovation transforms the buildings to a workplace and jobs for a new generation. While the prints of the ATF make up a coherent body of work, each image stands as a significant image on its own, as must every photograph. Renovation of the ATF is completed, and a new generation of people work and live at the complex.

Recently I have been drawn to photograph the local churches and cathedrals in England. These magnificent structures lend a new dimension to my work. They impart a feeling of vastness and yet a contained space where shadow and light competes for your attention. It was a challenge and a thrill to organize and capture images that would have visual impact. This new portfolio extends my architectural photographs, and links all of them into a theme showing the heart and soul of man. I returned to England in the fall of 2008 photographing more local churches and cathedrals, and obtained many images. I was very fortunate to obtain special permission to photograph in Kings Chapel at Cambridge University, as well as Christ’s Church at Oxford University. These are places of exceptional merit, and photography with a tripod is usually not allowed. I am very excited about these images, and will spend the next several months printing them.