On the creative process:
“I am a photographer first and foremost – a purist. The quality and content of my images doesn’t depend on film or silicon; it depends on my vision. So there is virtually no difference in the result if I shoot with film or a media card. I use my depth of experience to create my images during the actual shooting process. My control is totally focused on the camera. There’s something about a tangible piece of film that I still love – but I always operate now with a digital workflow.
On image content:
“I am a maverick: an abstract photographer in a sea of social documentary, nature, and landscape photographers. I want people to be confused, to find my work ambiguous. You see, I think the thrill is in the not-knowing rather than the knowing. How many times have you looked at an image and seen something new each time? Not often I would imagine. My images look simple, but they are actually elegant and quite complex. What’s it look like to you?
“Only hard core photographers really care about this stuff. In my early years (well, my really early years I used a Brownie Starflash), I used Nikons, view cameras, Leicas, and a Rolleiflex. I moved to Olympus gear for the next 25 years: Olympus OM2 and 3 primary lenses. When that was stolen in Spain, I quickly replaced it with a Canon EOS 300 and a Tamron 28-200mm macro f3.8. After using Kodachrome 64 for decades, Fuji became my first choice with Velvia and Provia. I shoot available light and prefer early mornings or late afternoons for flat lighting. I chose the Olympus C2020 for my first digital investment. Then I stepped up to the Olympus C5060 and then to the Canon EOS D20 DSLR (8.2 megs) and a Canon EOS T3i body with 18 megs. Full circle with equipment, I now use a Canon 50mm f1.8 primary, Canon 100mm f2.8 macro primary, Tamron 18 –270 zoom, Tamron 11-18 wide zoom, and a Canon Speedlite 580EX flash. I love the immediacy of digital! For a pocket-sized digital, I travel with a Casio Exilim ZR100. In fact, some of my favorite shots are with this trusty sidekick. For a brief time, I even had a Droid that I used for several images. It functioned well as a camera/PDA, but failed as a phone. It got returned!
“I use Photoshop CS5.5, of course, as a ‘lightroom’ tool. My files require very little correction in color or form. I rarely do any manipulation except occasionally for size (I like to stretch or square the image). If there is something that needs to be tweaked, it’s easy to do in Photoshop. I’ve used it for over 15 years now but I rely on my manual (and colleagues) for anything other than the basics.
“I was slow to enter the digital realm. I couldn’t figure out why I should spend more time on the computer. As it is, my digital lightroom (Nikon Super Coolscan 5000ED, Epson Perfection 2450 Photo scanner, Epson R2400, HP Officejet Pro 8500, Wacom tablet, two Maxtor One Touch External Drives, and Nixvue Digital Album) provides me with plenty of tools. So I decided to get a small digital camera – one that was easy to carry and had features that would keep me engaged. I chose the Olympus C2020. At first I didn’t use it much, but then instead of my small Rollei 35, I started to travel with it. I had almost infinite control over the image on the spot. Now with my Canon EOS T3i I find my ability to re-vision my world even more exciting!
“At one time I printed and framed my own Cibachromes in a wonderful Santa Cruz lab. I had full control over the entire process. Now I’ve left behind film and have moved into a full digital post-process mode. While I print my own giclees to 13 x 19, I use a professional lab for larger prints. Lately I have been enjoying the experimentation of printing on canvas, aluminum for exterior all-weather use (WeatherPrint), and a modern aluminum for indoors (MetalPrint). All use the same digital photo files but each presents in its own unique manner.
Some clarity on digital vs. traditional prints:
“People ask if it’s digital or traditional photography. The art of photography is about seeing, not the equipment used or the manner in which it’s printed. Whether it’s a Cibachrome print from a slide, a chromogenic print from a negative, a canvas photograph, or a gicleé or, as we refer to them now, an archival pigment print from a digital file, it is still a photograph! Photography is photography. It’s as simple and complex as that!”