I recently made a slide presentation to the East Greenwich Art Club. I was not given a theme; my only mandate was to show lots of pictures.
Coincidentally, I had been muddling in my head this dilemma of having two very differing bodies of work, seemingly springing from the same source; feeling like each had equal authenticity.
My presentation then became an exercise in looking for my sources inspiration. I went back to the beginning, when I first developed my passion for the camera; back to my days at URI. I found a box of old black & white prints from what I termed the 'Disaster Series'. My subjects were old crumbling mills of southern RI. I was captivated by the spiritual presence I felt and by the need to preserve their stories.
To this day, I still enjoy the sense of finding places stuck in time. With some project photography I have done, most notably documenting the elevated railroad in Boston with the 'Orange Line', 'Inshore/Offshore photographs of commercial fishing, and in New York street scenes, the subject becomes more interesting with the passage of time; cars, street signs, advertisements add another layer of interest to an image.
However, most of the work I have displayed recently has been in the landscape genre, capturing the ethereal nature of light on sea & land. I have achieved much success in photographs of misty seascapes, of stillness and golden light, and of impending storms.
How different these two paths are, and yet I alternately feel at home in both. Part of me hoped that by going back through the work I have done, I would reach a conclusion as to which way is the one I should pursue.
I recognize now it is the experience itself, my connection to the world that is as much the goal as the image. It is in my intent to create authentic images, which links the two genres, no matter what the subject. This is the lesson I have to share today.