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My Story

When I was 9, my grandmother sat me down next to her on the family farm in Iowa. With a Queen Anne’s Lace in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other, she invited me to share with her the marvel of the flower.

“Come boy, look at this. Each individual flower is perfect; it takes hundreds to make up a single bloom. Some see a weed, I see a beautiful flower. Weeds are only plants that grow where you don’t want them.”

With that simple lesson, my grandmother revealed how to entertain two seemingly contradictory ideas at once. On one hand, there’s the pragmatic: weeds are the enemy; they cut into crop yield on the farm – it’s money out of pocket, food out of mouths. On the other hand, there’s seeing things for what they are: weeds are beautiful; they’re worth pausing to look at. Awareness of the moment is significant in its own right.

Making photographs, for me, is documenting that moment of awareness.
Artifacts from the real world.
What the memory of being there looks like.

I put a frame around things and say,
“I saw this…
LOOK.”

Grandma lived to 104.
Maybe there’s something to it: pausing to look.

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about this blog

I received my Masters of Fine Arts from George Washington University in 1982. Jerry Lake, the program head and fine artist, made clear that a rigorous written thesis was required before we’d be granted a degree. I, along with many of my fellow degree candidates protested: We’re visual artists! We don’t need to write a bound black-book thesis!

In retrospect, Jerry’s requirement was a gift to us all. It made us develop our ideas beyond just initial conception. The exercise of thesis-writing highlighted the multiple levels of the creative process – from madman inspiration all the way through to analysis and craft.

This blog is where I think out loud, play with new ideas, keep a visual diary, share what I see.