Thoughts on the art, purpose and practice of photography. Plus a few random rants, raves and remembrances.

"Photography's Silent Voice" 

I find a special kinship between the art of photography and the hidden emotions, the silent voice and the frozen poses of the mime. 

Street mimes can be disturbing in much the same way as powerful photographs. Both are intrusive. Both speak a silent language that relies upon nuanced gesture and suggestion. Both have the potential to arrest the gaze, energize the imagination and hold the viewer spellbound. 

Like the mime, photography can be intrusive, even aggressive. Turn your back on a street mime, and she will likely copy your gait, mimic your attitude, and give onlookers a good laugh at your expense. The photographer sometimes does the same, only the result is more permanent. 

“Remembering Seymour -- Tribute to a Teacher”

"In my opinion, we were put on earth to use our talents to make this world a better place to live.”
– Seymour Simches  (1920 – 2003)

Seymour Simches had unquestioning faith in the power of knowledge. He loved academia, but not its rigid divisions. If someone had a plan for challenging the limits of traditional academic disciplines, Seymour stood ready to help.
The Seymour Simches I knew in the late 60s was a scholar, a teacher, a generalist, and an educational innovator. But I think it's fair to say, that above all, he was a Francophile. His enthusiasm for all things French was as immense as it was infectious...

“Avatar Review”

Link to a small portfolio with large files of my fine-art images from the Summer 2007 issue of the online art journal “Avatar Review.”

“William Mortensen’s Strange Legacy”
At the middle of the 20th-Century, William Mortensen was one of the best-known and influential photographers in the United States. His fall into obscurity is a story in itself. Mortensen was unimpressed by the ideas a young photographer with a genius for self-promotion named Ansel Adams who was spearheading a crusade to enshrine the “Straight photograph” as the only legitimate form of art photography.
At the time, Mortesen was most widely published photographic writer of his day, and he used his bully pulpit to publicly ridicule Straight photography as dogmatic and ill-conceived. An incensed Adams took to calling Mortensen the “Antichrist” -- and worked behind the scenes for decades to discourage historians and museum curators from exhibiting or acknowledging Mortensen’s work. 
Even without Adams’ intervention, Mortensen’s legacy would no doubt have suffered.  His taste and approach to photography anticipated what critics call “Postmodernism,” but he was badly out of step with his own times.  Mortensen was the nation’s most skillful Pictoralist in an era that increasingly celebrated Straight photography. He was an enthusiast of erotic melodrama during the straight-laced  30s, 40s and 50s. He was an internationalist in a period when the art establishment was searching for American icons. He was influenced by the Renaissance at a time when Modernism was ascendant. Above all, he was aesthetically outrageous just as the mainstream art world was recoiling against experimentalism.  The following is excerpted from an article by Larry Lytle in TheScreamOnline that explores the strange photographic legacy of William Mortensen...                                                                   

Self-portrait of William Mortensen ca. 1935.

Below: Works by William Mortensen

"The Fine Art of Photography" 

It's been at least two decades since photography entered the inner sanctum of the fine arts alongside painting, sculpture and printmaking. So why do photographers continue to quarrel over what makes a legitimate art photo?

"Climate Change 101" 

If carbon dioxide were charcoal gray and could be seen belching from cars, planes and power plants, by now Americans would be at the vanguard of a massive, global assault on carbon emissions. But it isn’t--and we aren’t.

And that’s a terrible problem. By the time we see evidence of the havoc greenhouse gasses are wreaking on earth’s climate systems, it will be too late.  Too late to avert a global economic collapse and all that will follow--panic, pestilence, and anarchy. Too late to save our children from inheriting a vastly altered and angry planet.

Learn the facts about climate change in this impartial white paper from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change...


"Mission Statement"

“Angels in the Visible Spectrum”

The object of ‘Angels’ was to marry the expressiveness of oil painting with the creative promise of digital-image editing. Between 2002 and 2009, what began with a series mixed-media experiments gradually evolved into a thematically unified project with about two-dozen canvasses--so far.