I can still recall the first photograph I took. Yet the memory is as blurry as the pictures were. The camera was a box camera and I was in the Central Park Zoo. I was ten years old. I looked through a small patch of frosted glass, barely seeing what was to become an image on a roll of film. The pressing of a lever released a single spring, revealing a metal disk with a hole in it that flashed a tiny amount of light against the emulsion. The magic happened later when my roll of film was developed.
Not long after I was taken for an eye test and was given my first pair of glasses. With those glasses many more rolls of film were exposed. I did most of my developing in a tiny bathroom that my parents let me use. Trays and tanks balanced on top of the tub and teetered on the toilet. my cheap light bulb enlarger exposed grey flimsy prints of my first attempts. I was in love in this bathroom haven as I rocked those Kodak drawings back and forth.
During my late teens I graduated to a 35mm camera. It became a weapon in my defense against the city. I carried my camera wherever I went and was always on the lookout for a good shot.
In college, at Cooper Union and Cal Arts, I discovered color. I made pictures in the sharp, color saturated sun of California. At school we would argue about the frame. Should it be white or black or the negative’s edge. We were trying to break out but were always stuck with that rectangle. Then I discovered a set of panoramic postcards of the Duluth, Minnesota skyline. It was 1977 and I started a study of Panoramic images. At first I tried to duplicate precise panoramas but then I started to experiment with odd shaped montages.
The frames are exposed at different moments, imitating the way we glance around to take in a scene. Stories emerge, most simple actions and some humorous. People often appear more than once. While the images must work as a whole their success is dependent on the careful planning of each frame. Complex layers are not always revealed on first viewing but over time can be discovered.
I like to explore the boundaries of time and space.