I have vivid memories of recess at grammar school in the Bronx, NY. As my classmates burned off their pent-up energy on the playground, a friend and I would sit against the fence intently observing the others at play. Robert liked to narrate their activities, framing what he saw as a TV show, but I would sit silently, capturing in my young mind stilled moments of the action before me, usually moments of surprise or the unusual. In a way, not much has changed for me. I remain attracted to observing and fixing moments of human activity that play out before me.
As a young boy, I snapped photos with my father’s Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid Land cameras and then purchased my first 35mm camera in college. Eager to express myself visually, I photographed campus politics and life on the streets.
As a high school teacher in the Hudson Valley of New York, I walked the streets of Manhattan on the weekends, recording both the people and “landscapes” of the city. What caught my eye then (and still does now) was both the vibrancy of human activity and the quiet of architectural spaces. Wanting more professional training, I studied at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and the Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY, both of which honed my skills and deepened my appreciation for my first influences, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, Bruce Davidson and Robert Doisneau.
Today, everyone has a camera and everyone is a photographer. Nevertheless, by staying true to one’s own vision – finding it, acknowledging it, and expressing it – we can stand apart from the crowd of others who click, snap, and upload. Though I now shoot a bit more of the natural world and portraiture, I remain true to my first vision from the playground, observing and shooting the streets, looking for the odd, the quirky, and sometimes the quiet in everyday life, shooting mostly B&W but also faux color infrared images.