Iʼm in love with photography. Iʼve made pictures most of my life, but only a few years ago committed full-tilt. As a print designer, I became an intermediate Photoshop user, so post-production has been easy. And thank heavens it was, because I learned to rescue a lot in post. I take the lessons from the “darkroom” back into the field, which creates less post, which makes me more precise.
In some ways, shooting has been easy, too. Thatʼs talent—the wheel grease that helps you surprise yourself. And like all things worth doing, itʼs also a slog.
Along the way, Iʼve learned more than I give myself credit for. Some of it is technical. Some artistic. From all of these blunders and triumphs has emerged a pattern. Itʼs easy to talk about that pattern as an obvious goal many (if not all) visual artists share, but you donʼt see patterns when youʼre working with details. And every time the pattern reemerges, it means something different, informed by all its previous weaves and wends.
Again and again, I do all this to tell a better story.
Before I was in love with photography, I was also in love with poetry. Iʼve put in well more than my 10,000 hours, and humbly consider myself a master of my craft.
I say “humbly” because I believe mastery means reaching the top of the mountain, only to realize the stars are no closer. Mastery means knowing in your bones what you donʼt know. It also means form is second nature—you didnʼt get up that mountain without learning how to hike. And it means youʼre free. When you come back down, youʼve been changed. What seemed a mountain before is just another place to travel; you may now see a mountain where before it seemed like nothing at all.
Itʼs been my privilege to work toward mastery of one craft while practicing mastery in another. They talk to each other. Poetry is very generous, and photography listens well. Mostly, poetry says, “You know what youʼre doing right now is badass. And in a few years, youʼll see it as amateurish. And thatʼs okay. The only path is through.” (Photography briefly tried to offer insights, and poetry patted its head, rubbed its shoulders and gently told it to shut up.)
So hereʼs some work to show where itʼs been, and where itʼs going. The real joy of doing what feels right is that you donʼt need to worry about what comes next. When itʼs time for next to come, next will be there, sexy and surprising as ever.