Words about Pictures?

“There is really no such thing as Art. There are only artists.” These are the first two sentences of Chapter 1 in Ernst Gombrich’s classic, The Story of Art.

A photographer colleague who has given up making “art” urged me to burn my Gombrich. Reading it will undermine my photography. I’m not going to burn my Gombrich because I know reading it has nothing to do with what happens when I have a camera in my hand. Making photographs is “much ado about nothing.” When they ask, “What was going through your head when you made that picture?” I want to say, “Nothing.” I’ve been back and forth between the two sides of my brain enough to know when I’m in the moment. When I’m making my best pictures, the chatter of words stops; I work in a silent, almost purely attavistic, visual mode. It’s almost the same when looking at photographs.

But sometimes we can’t seem to have any kind of relationship with photographs. We can’t explain what we think about them — other than in half-remembered generalizations. I know many can’t seem to “see” my pictures — good, bad or indifferent — or those of others whose work I admire. The only contact points I’ve discovered arise from words, ideas.

I think it’s possible to turn on and enhance visual experience. It’s possible to step out of the visual box that we all live in, inundated as we are with media chatter. Yes, great photographs stand on their own, but I think we can always learn to see them better. Or develop the confidence to articulate an informed opinion. Or create the vocabulary with which to do so. When we confidently confront an image and talk about it, it’s good for everybody. Somehow, the world becomes a more civilized place in which to live. We are more in control of our lives. This I believe.

So this website is a forum of words and ideas driven by images. In addition to showing work, I’ll be looking for verbal pieces to the visual puzzle. When you visit, you’ll see interesting, perhaps challenging things, you’ll find new ideas about photography. You’ll have encounters that I hope will help your photo experience grow richer.