These photos are taken with a large format 4 x 5 camera. I am inspired by photographers like Weston and Adams paragons of black and white landscape photography. John Sexton, a contemporary master of black and white photography taught me many of the fundamentals. Professionally I worked as a photographer for various Saudi government agencies where photographing many fascinating projects but my passion and weekend “hobby” was to go out into the the peaceful and vast desert with my field camera. I also had the opportunity to document many historically important buildings before they crumbled into dust as they are made of dried mud and wood.
Form and Landscape
Form: Shape, configuration, formation, structure, construction, arrangement, appearance, exterior, outline, format, layout, design are synonyms from the dictionary, but I would also add texture and pattern. These are the things which catch my eye as a photographer. Turning those natural elements into a two a dimensional print while trying to maintain the original visual inspiration is the trick. As I walk through the landscape one finds these, “Ah, ha!” moments. They can be either small or dramatic. Keeping that initial inspiration from the moment of exposure to making a print is one of the great pleasures of photography.
There is an undeniable Japanese aesthetic. The temples and shrines are world famous for their gardens and architecture But even modest homes with a tiny garden will have a small shrine or decorative planting inspired by the spectacular examples around them. Kyoto, one of the most important historical and cultural centers in Japan, is where my daughter lives. With a life long fascination with Japan and its culture, I am blessed with a place to stay and base from which to explore the endless layers the Japanese aesthetic.
Masaki is a village about 30 miles from the capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam. As a Peace Corps volunteer (1964 - 66) I was teaching at a middle school called Kisarawe. It was mostly a boarding school in the Kisarawe District which is primarily a Zaramo tribal area. Some of my students came from the village of Masaki which was another ten miles down the road. When I was finishing my M.A (journalism/photography). at Syracuse University in 1970 I went back to Tanzania to do a series of informal portraits for my masters thesis. It was a wonderful opportunity to document a cross section of the people who lived in this area. I had the help of two former students Amidu and Wakati who provided me with a place to stay and as interlocutors.
I lived in Tanzania for two years as a Peace Corps teacher in a small village twenty miles from the capital Dar es Salaam. It was a fortuitous combination of near and far. Being close to the city, I discovered the Makonde wood carvers. The Makonde are originally from Mozambique. The sculptures are a reflection of their spiritual world of demons, shetani, wachawi (exorcists) and everyday struggles. They carve mostly in ebony, one of the hardest dentist woods. Tanzania is a place of great beauty and fascinating people. These photos were taken on several visits back to Tanzania after I left teaching there.
This collection of photos are from one venerable estate on Long Island, NY. I have been taking photographs of the estate for many years and of course it is beautiful. After many years I started to appreciate the whole estate as if it where an artist’s canvas and the various plantings the palette of the horticulturist, who is George Woodard. His first love is hybridizing rhododendron. The whole estate is a reflection of an understanding and deep appreciation for the art of horticulture.
These are odds and ends photos that I like for various reasons. Some were parts of projects and others are just those moments that catch your eye in passing. For example the figure on the Brooklyn Bridge captured my mood at the end of the day waking home. The bridge is irresistibly photogenic.
Rangjung Riepe Dorje the 16th Karmapa and spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism was cremated at his monastery called Rumtek near Gangtok, Sikkhim in 1982. These photos are a document of the cremation day and the preparations. A chorten was built on the roof of the main shrine hall. The body which had been preserved in salt was placed inside and cremated while ceremonies where conducted. Many torma offerings had been prepared (made out of butter and barely flour which symbolize the breaking of emotional attachments, generosity, loving kindness and impermanence). After being blessed during elaborate pujas or religious ceremonies, they were fed into the cremation fire. During the cremation ceremonies a circular rainbow appeared over the monastery and an eagle or vulture. was circling high above. It was a surprising and auspicious sight but these types of celestial events have long been associated with the Karma lineage and other Kagyu teachers.