I AM AN EMERGING EARTHSCAPE ART PHOTOGRAPHER dedicated to creating subjective and interpretive images of our shared American landscape. My work explores the trunks of cottonwoods, the gold of Mojave dust, slanted moonlight and crisp shadows, nature’s geometry, and the sinusoidal curves of man’s creations, with a recognition that nature and our own hands all tell a story of what once was and may still be. These photographic explorations can be seen overtly or faintly through metal tracks, wood splinters and marks and artifacts laid upon the topography of our once pristine lands.
Art has been a long-time calling and a longer time arriving as I transitioned from an engineering career to the visual arts. My life’s experiences of solving problems of precision have confirmed that mastery of craft is proportional to one’s effort; correspondingly, I have also discovered that artistic vision, through photography, unfolds slowly, and only across extended periods of time. And while my journey has covered landscape, sports and event photography, my art has grown through intense work in the National Park Photography Expedition’s landscape art program. Influences here helped me develop an aesthetic for impressionistic images that venture beyond sheer representation of nature and things, to images that consciously originate in my mind as representing an Americana Earthscape narrative.
WHO I AM
Earthscape, Action And Event Photographer
Experienced National Park, Preserve And Monument Photographer
Outdoor And Western Americana Travel Enthusiast
- Our Magnificent Planet, LensWork’s community book project
- Dodho Magazine’s Online collection, Oxidized! feature
- “Ask the Camera Guy…” Promenade presentation, Laguna Beach, CA,
- Artist vendor, Art-A-Fair, Laguna Beach, CA, summer 2020 (postponed-COVID)
- “Oxidized!” solo Exhibition, Progress Gallery, Pomona, CA, March to August
- Sasse Museum of Art—donation of Colliding Colors, and Spiraling images
- Field teaching assistant, National Park Photography Expedition Workshops
- Year 2020 fine art group show exhibitor at:
- LA Open, TAG Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
- Artist’s Vision, Marin Society of Artists, CA
- Shoreline Art Festival, Shoreline, WA
- Spot On, D’Art Gallery, Denver, CO
- August Group Art Show, Jones Gallery, Kansas City, MO
- The Next Big Thing, Studio Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA
- 2ndhalf – 50 and older; Botanicals; and Photography 2020 Exhibitions, Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA
- Photography mentorship, Bob Killen, MFA, National Park Photography Expeditions
- Guest lecturer, high school art classes, landscape and sports photography genres
- Multi-level ribbon winner, OC Fair juried fine art photo competition, multiple years
- Ongoing contract photographer, up to 120 events annually, high school level
- Palm Springs Photo Festival, online, Alumni
- Medium Festival of Photography, San Diego, Alumni
- Guest Lecturer, South County Photo Club, Orange County
- Multiple National Park Photography Expedition field workshops
- Photographic Art Challenge, Mission Viejo, CA, multiple years
2018 and previously
- Mojave’s Desert Light Magazine, featured back cover,
- Orange County Register, OC Varsity, online sports imaging
- First place, OC Fair two-hour Digital Photography Challenge, 2016
- 2015 Sports Shooter Academy Alumni
- Summited Mt. Whitney, Mt. Lassen and Mt. San Jacinto multiple times, etc.
- Professional Civil Engineer, project design, program and division manager
- Bachelor of Science in Soil Science, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; and in Civil Engineering, Cal State Long Beach
- Formally trained landscape design/ drafting, pencil, ink & digital drafting modalities
- Forest trails rehabilitation in California’s Sierras & coastal ranges, during 4 summers
- Mojave National Preserve Artists Foundation Board
- Los Angeles Art Association
- Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
- Los Angeles Center of Photography
MY PERSONAL ETHOS
Ethos, a Greek word meaning “character,” describes guiding beliefs and ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. Applied to photographic art, Ethos considers the knowledge, trustworthiness and credibility, hence the character of the individual photographer.
My Ethos follows photographer and critic John Szarkowski, from his book entitled, “The Photographer’s Eye,” who opined that five elements contribute to the “… formulation of a vocabulary and a critical perspective more fully responsive to the unique phenomena of photography.”
My character and my ethos is that I pursue a sense of reality (where my picture starts) in all of my images, and much of my sense of craft or structure (where my picture is completed) consists of anonymous and untraceable components within the image itself. I use The Detail to tell my truth, as I see it. I do not try to make a story clear; rather, I strive to make it seem real through the contents of my images. I use The Frame as my method to juxtapose my image contents, to create relationships and stories, whether organic or inorganic, or a melding of both. Time is always a factor, whether the time of day the image was captured, or the time (length) of the exposure. With Time, the thing that happens at the decisive moment (when the shutter is pushed) is not a climax but a visual element. Through creative Vantage Points, working the camera and scene (judicious placement of my camera, and by extension, the viewer), I strive to create pictures that drive the sense of the scene in ways not expected.
And finally, the artistic component of my photography deals with the actual—The Thing Itself—where the image survives the subject and becomes the remembered reality. All of my images are based on the reality I perceive when I choose to pause time to create the base image. Thereafter, by artistic use of post-processing techniques, my aesthetic simplifies the image, removes un-necessary stimulus, creates metaphors and narratives, and delivers an abstract, impressionistic or representational image as the outcome–essentially, what I felt at the time of capture.
Influential Photographic Artists in My Journey:
My photographic art has been and will continue to be influenced by three groups of photographic artists, including classical masters — pioneers of their craft and art; current masters — artists still alive and producing art; and personal mentors — my inner circle of friends and colleagues who support me through ongoing guidance and mentorship.
Of the classical masters, Edward Weston, whose high-resolution photographs transformed his subjects into abstractions of shapes and patterns, has long captured my attention. Ansel Adams, whose technical mastery and previsualization are the stuff of legend, provided a complex “zone system” of controlling and relating exposure and development, enabling photographers to creatively visualize and produce a photograph that expressed that visualization. And, Minor White, whose sometimes dark and foreboding images used details, contrast and textures that transformed things into objects difficult to describe, lending mystery to his images.
Of the current masters, Hiroshi Sugimoto’s stark and seemingly simple yet deceptively complex art affords viewers an opportunity to imagine just what it is that they are viewing. Andreas Gursky’s large format landscape and architecture color photography, often from a high vantage point, allows viewers to witness scenes incorporating details from both the periphery and center. Michael Kenna’s images, exhibiting a sense of calm, solitude and tranquility, extract something original and emotive from the world. Mitch Dobrowner’s use of indirect light, stark composition and moody backgrounds for his weather and landscape-inspired images captivate and compel me to want to shoot similar works, albeit from my perspective and aesthetic.
Within my small circle of mentors, Bob Killen, the creative talent behind National Park Photography Expeditions, takes a lead role. Bob has helped guide and further my development as an artist, encouraging me to explore and expand my personal aesthetic, and to generate images that depict this aesthetic.