I often photograph my own food and party designs. I do not enjoy cooking at all, but if I can create a beautiful art project out of what I am preparing, I find the motivation to do what needs to be done. I know many people who love to cook for people. I create elaborate dessert and appetizer tables for my friends and family to compensate for not liking to cook for people.
My love of documenting the world I see through photography started early. I have traveled for much of my life. While I was raised in Berkeley, my family lived in Europe during my father’s many professorial sabbaticals. I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa for over 2 years right after College. Living in places where I might never see the people or countryside again, compelled me to photograph everything I could. I have continued to photo-document my life, my families’ life and times, and the world beyond, since then.
Photographing people whether it is a posed or candid shot is always a welcomed challenge. I tend to take many pictures of any given shot so I have a better chance of getting a good one. I had a professional photographer aquaintance in college who created large format glossy photo portrait books. He took 1000 shots for each single shot he wanted, and would then scour the contact sheets with a loupe looking for the perfect shot. I have never owned amazing camera equipment, but I know more is better than less when trying to capture a distinct moment of humanity.
Studying design gave me an appreciation for beautifully designed things. Living with no electricity or running water for 2-1/2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer gave me an appreciation for functional things that we truly need for living, beautiful or not. Sometimes a photograph of a thing is more beautiful than the thing itself.
Abstractions & Manipulations
Taking a regular photo and distorting it somehow, or taking a distorted photo and somehow making it more distorted, to the point where the thing photographed is almost unrecognizable, is one of the many joys of being an avid photographer. While it is truly magical to actually capture, on film, the authentic nature of a thing, place or person, it is equally enjoyable to manipulate it to the unrecognizable, which often reveals yet another side to that nature that would not have been recognized or noticed in its original form. I basically cannot resist messing with things until there is no more messing to be done, or the manipulating does not feel valuable any more. I do this with everything I create. I start with some basic thing, a photograph or drawing, and then play with it. Sometimes there is a plan in the play, and other times it just happens. I often, however, document how I have played with something after the fact, so I can recreate the process, if I end up loving the final outcome. The post-process plan or documentation is almost as much fun as the original acts of spontaneity, as you get to re-live those moments of discovery via a deconstructing thought process.
Shadows and Reflections
Who does not like shadows and reflections? I have taken tons of photos featuring a shadow or a reflection and sometimes both. There is something so elegant about the way a shadow might fall on a curved or bent surface, completely changing the thing it is shadowing. Reflections similarly change the character of a thing based on the structure of the surface where the reflection is being made. They both fascinate me to no end. And they are literally limitless. You just have to look for them. Because shadows and reflections do not give our brains real information about a situation, person or thing (unless that reflective surface is a mirror of course), we tend to overlook them; They do not become part of our basic assessment. But the alternate picture they do represent or create is worth the glance and visit in my opinion.