Artist Biography

 

    I studied photography as a Geography major at Rutgers University. Upon graduation

in 1978, I pursued adventure, and became weary of heavy camera equipment in my

backpack, and of lacking a darkroom.  In Alaska, an artist taught me the value of truly

seeing what was before me. While sailing in the Caribbean, my camera was crushed.

I lightened my backpack and took a Zen approach--paying close attention to what I

saw, and asking, “Why is this beautiful?”

    In 1982, in the cabin I built in Alaska, I began creating works in pen and ink, acrylic, watercolor, and sculptures in wood for sale in local galleries.  My themes were landscape and wildlife. I also began training in Japanese martial arts.  

    In 1988 I came to California to pursue Aikido, supporting my intense training with my sculpture and design skills. “Aikido” is translated as “the way of harmony with the animating force/principle of the Universe.” It can be viewed as a study of the harmonization of positive and negative forces.

    In 1999, as an Aikido teacher, I met Dr. Shozo Sato, master of Japanese aesthetics, and became his student. Study centered on Tea Ceremony (chado), including calligraphy (shodo), ink painting (sumi-e), and flower arranging (ikebana). This education has profoundly built upon my visceral understanding of the dynamics of positive and negative forces, entering the realm of active vs. empty space, and, on paper, subject matter vs. black and white spaces.  My compositions are influenced by the model of “dominant / sub-dominant / subordinate,” as well.

    In 2003, digital advances drew me back to photography, my first love. Naturally, due to my background in ink arts and the dramatic affect of monochrome images, black and white is my genre, now with the artfully placed “chop.”  But my art is primarily the discovery of fine compositions in Nature, which is facilitated not only by my education in Japanese aesthetics, but also by my skills in wilderness navigation and travel. It is the emotion evoked by the composition that is my prime concern.  For this reason I use basic, lightweight cameras.

Studying Hypnotherapy led me to the latest consciousness research. Thomas Campbell’s theory of evolution away from entropy has influenced me greatly. Much of my work can be seen as a contribution to that evolution, especially my photographs of mountains and canyons (see my TEDx presentation on YouTube: “Natural Beauty and Aesthetic Arrest”). 

     I have written, designed and published two coffee-table books:. The Granite Avatars of Patagonia (2009) won second-best art book of the year (Eric Hoffer Award), and has sold over 700 copies. My second book, Moved By A Mountain (2012) was featured in the July issue of Alaska Magazine, and the text was published in “Cirque,” the literary newsletter of the Pacific Northwest.

     I have had several exhibits in galleries in California, Alaska, and Vermont. Several of my photographs have been featured on Your Daily Photograph, a prominent internet gallery, and an aspect of the Duncan Miller Gallery in Southern California. I have given dozens of presentations to photography clubs, mountaineering clubs and at outdoor stores.