At forty-two, I decided to become a photographer because it offered a means of creative thought and action. I didn't rationalize this, I just felt it intuitively and followed my intuition, which I have never regretted.
What I feel is that the picture-taking process, anyway a greater part of it, is an intuitive thing. You can't go out and logically plan a picture, but when you come back, reason then takes over and verifies or rejects whatever you've done. So that's why I say that reason and intuition are not in conflict--they strengthen each other.
A thing is not what you say it is or what you photograph it to be or what you paint it to be or what you sculpt it to be. Words, photographs, paintings, and sculptures are symbols of what you see, think, and feel things to be, but they are not the things themselves.
The urge to create, the urge to photograph, comes in part from the deep desire to live with more integrity, to live more in peace with the world, and possibly to help others to do the same.
I love the medium of photography, for with its unique realism it gives me the power to go beyond conventional ways of seeing and understanding and say, "This is real, too."
The medium of photography can record not only what the eyes see, but that which the mind's eye sees as well. The camera is not only an extension of the eye, but of the brain. It can see sharper, farther, nearer, slower, faster than the eye. It can see by invisible light. It can see in the past, present, and future. Instead of using the camera only to reproduce objects, I wanted to use it to make what is invisible to the eye, visible.
I feel all things as dynamic events, being, changing, and interacting with each other in space and time even as I photograph them.
Everything went together perfectly, and this is what I mean by knowing. I didn't have to analyze anything. I just recognized what was in front of me. All I had to do was set up and take the picture.
I didn't want to tell the tree or weed what it was. I wanted it to tell me something and through me express its meaning in nature.
There is nothing mysterious about space-time. Every speck of matter, every idea, is a space-time event. We cannot experience anything or conceive of anything that exists outside of space-time. Just as experience precedes all awareness and creative expression, the visual language of our photographs should ever more strongly express the fourth dimensional structure of the real world.
My pictures are never pre-visualized or planned. I can't anticipate the mood of the model, how she will react to a particular place, what the character of the light will be, or how I myself will respond to all these things. I feel strongly that pictures must come from contact ,with things the time and place of taking.
Mysteries lie all around us,' he said, 'even in the most familiar things, waiting only to he perceived. If I photograph in such a way that I meaningfully evoke a sense of the known and the unknown, I feel I have succeeded.'
My feeling of four dimensional space-time came directly from my contact with the things I photographed. When I first became a photographer, I photographed with only a conscious awareness of objects and their physical qualities, plus an academic awareness of how to compose objects within the format of my print. It never occurred to me that objects had their own real time, and that space was fullness, ranging physically from solid objects to invisible air and light. In short, I never thought too seriously of either. Only when I became dissatisfied with object seeing and photographing did I seek another way. My search led me to a greater awareness that all objects were events constantly changing on sub-microscopic, microscopic and macroscopic levels in time and space. This included everything. My entire viewpoint gradually changed as did my pictures. For myself, I needed no definition to make me aware of four dimensional space-time events; I felt them.
Searching is everything - going beyond what you know. And the test of the search is really in the things themselves, the things you seek to understand. What is important is not what you think about them, but how they enlarge you.
A person is quite different from a tree or rock or stream. By introducing the nude into my pictures, I started perceiving all the things I was photographing in new ways. In contrast or opposition to each other, things became much more significant and interesting, revealing many more qualities than I had ever dreamed of knowing and expressing. By using the nude, I stopped thinking in terms of objects. I was seeing things, instead, as dynamic events, unique in their own beings yet also related and existing together within a universal context of energy and change.
What you see is real - but only on the particular level to which you've developed your sense of seeing. You can expand your reality by developing new ways of perceiving.
As I became aware that all things have unique spatial and temporal qualities which visually define and relate them, I began to perceive the things I was photographing not as objects but as events. Working to develop my skills of perceiving and symbolizing these event qualities, I discovered the principle of opposites. When, for example, I photographed the smooth, luminous body of a woman behind a dirty cobwebbed window, I found that the qualities of each event were enhanced and the universal forces which they manifested were more powerfully evoked.
I now measure my growth as a photographer in terms of the degrees to which I am aware of, have developed my sense of, and have the skills to symbolize visually the four-dimensional structure of the universe.
In a photograph, if I am able to evoke not alone a feeling of the reality of the surface physical world but also a feeling of the reality of existence that lies mysteriously and invisibly beneath its surface, I feel I have succeeded. At their best, photographs as symbols not only serve to help illuminate some of the darkness of the unknown, they also serve to lessen the fears that too often accompany the journeys from the known to the unknown.
My pictures are never pre-visialized or planned. I feel strongly that pictures must come from contact with things ath the time and place of taking. At such times, I rely on intuitive, perceptual responses to guide me, using reason only after the final print is made to accept or rejetct the results of my work.
For me a nude photograph should be erotic, not devoid of emotion. The body is a sensual thing, sensuality being one of its most beautiful and meaningful qualities.
Light is a physical entity that has powerful, visual psychological and philosophical dimensions of meaning. It has greater space-time dimensions than familiar material objects. Light contains all the visible colors that move us deeply. There is no life as we know it without light. Objects can be destroyed in a material sense— light cannot be destroyed— just diverted or suspended to again be renewed. In photography it offers the plasticity that sound offers to music and words, and paint to paintings.
The human figure, the trees, plants, ferns, and flowers manifest the cyclic forces of life and death in various characteristic stages of development. All blend into my experience ... as events. Since I experience everything as an event, I want my photographs to express events. I reject the concept that a photograph freezes things in time merely because it records them at a particular moment in time.
As long as I can remember, I have been filled with a deep desire to find a means of creatively interacting with the world, of understanding more of what is within and around me. It was not until I was 40, however, that I decided photography was my best way. When I photograph, what I'm really doing is seeking answers to things.