We think that we select our obsessions, that we are in control of what we do.
But maybe not. Maybe our obsessions choose us.
The first time I had a camera in my hands and an idea to make photographs I set out to wander. I instinctively sought out the subject matter that I still chase today. I had no experience, no knowledge of how to truly operate the camera, no sense of anything, really except that there was something out there that I could photograph that would convey what was in my heart.
My mother was a news junkie so Life and Look magazines were always in the house when I was a kid. I grew up studying news photographs and photo essays by the premier photographers of the day. I had never heard of Gordon Parks, Douglas Kirkland, Bill Eppridge or any of the dozens of people making images of the news but I was certainly moved by their work. Larry Burrows’ photographs from Vietnam in particular were then and are now absolutely riveting. I can still remember the moment I saw the Bill Eppridge photo of Senator Robert Kennedy shot and dying on the cement floor of the kitchen pantry in The Ambassador Hotel.
So while I understood the power of photography, I had no desire to actually BE a photographer until I was in my early 30’s. I bought a Nikon SLR and wandered again, learning as much as I could as fast as I could about the technical aspects of photography. I also took a good hard look at the work of other photographers and the history of photography. To be a photographer and not know Alfred Stieglitz is exactly like being a baseball player and not knowing Babe Ruth.
And somewhere along the line there I actually became a photographer. Thanks for taking a look at my work. I am proud of the photographs I have made and I am more enthusiastic then I have ever been about the photographs I WILL make. There are endless highways out there and I plan to drive every single one before I am through.