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Rededication

It's been a very long time since I wrote anything for this blog, but I'm rededicating to it, starting today. Rededicating myself is something I do every day, really. Today it feels like all the photos I've made before are in the past, and today I need more photos. I don't know why that is. Sometimes I wonder, when do I get to enjoy the fact that I have a huge backlog of images, projects, portfolios...more than I will ever represent on this website. But, somehow the only work that feels important to me is the work I have yet to make. That's probably good for my productivity, but I don't know that this point of view offers the greatest chance at happiness. 

As of this writing I'm halfway through my MFA degree at Goddard College. Unlike the photography schools I might have gone to, the interdisciplinary prograpm I'm in encourages me to look beyond orthodoxies, trends, or conventional concepts of cerrectness to find the real purpose and meaning of my work. For me, that means exploring more fully who I really am, not just as an artist, but as a man. When one clears away the conformist questions of the past, and strips the inquiry back to the most primal level, I'm left with these clues about myself, in the form of values:

My highest value = authenticity

Great defiance against mendacity, facades, and heirarchies

The deep need to feel connected

A desire for immersion (living in the work) 

The urge to transform liability into advantage

Value of the psychological/emotional experience above data/facts

All of these values or core aspects of my identity are rooted in my childhood, and the problems I faced. I tried to solve them by looking away from the established conventional wisdom of how one should live their life, how they should speak, how they should dream. I did not dream of a world where I was changed, but rather that some greatness I could display as an artist would make my negative aspects into features. In my mind there was a "they" out there, which I was determined to prove wrong, and once proven wrong, "they" would look at me and see greatness, not a fat, sad, different, or disheveled kid. They would see the same me in a new light, and I would finally see me in a new light. Along the way I lost conscious touch with many of these parts of my primal urge to make art over the years, distracted by attention to careerism and craft, but I feel fully reconnected to the source now, the source of who I am and why I'm a photographer. 


On Assignment with the Bees

I'm totally scared of bees. When one gets into my home I can't relax until it's dead or removed from the premises. I avoid flowers when I'm outside. I have always been that guy who gets anxious and upset at a picnic when bees buzz around the food, fearing one will get in my mouth, or sting me. So, when I got a call to go photograph an NYC beekeeper and his rooftop hive of over 300,000 bees, I had to face my fears and get up close to the action. Classic. Remember Indiana Jones tumbling into a pit of asps and cobras? "Why did it have to be snakes?" Andrew Cote is a fourth-generation beekeeper, so he was pretty blase` about the whole thing, but he got stung twice while I was shooting. (I wasn't stung even once!) Here's my favorite shot from the day:

Controversial Beauty

Spring is here, and I'm a featured artist in the latest issue of the online magazine Talking Writing, which includes, not only a smattering of my street photographs, but also a lovely article about me, by Judith A. Ross. Her piece generously reflects on the need for any artist to shed their self-consciousness and look beyond the conventional. "In order to capture the human behavior all around him, he has to turn outward, to move beyond his own limits—which may well be the artistic process that gives any image, whether of a mountain peak or a grimy subway platform, creative spark." Thank you, Judith!