I was born in 1950 and raised in a row house for two years on Morse Street in Camden, New Jersey. Eventually, for practical reasons, we – Mom, Dad, older brothers Robert and Don, and Grandma Rose - moved to a large white stucco house with a green Spanish tile roof, in a clean, white suburb, Collingswood, where I lived until I attended college in 1968. In 1970, I moved to New York and moved in with the woman who became my wife, Hana Machotka.
There was a drawer in my parents’ bureau – the middle drawer in the third row – which held all the family photos. These photos were left in a jumble - some in yellow Kodak booklets, some loose, all formats and subjects, ranging from lineups of relatives I’d never met in long ago backyards in Wilmington, Delaware to class photos, to corporate affairs, to wrestling matches with my brothers. No matter. This drawer became a passage, a way to hold history, a way to discover and uncover mystery, a way to explaining my story.
Unwittingly, these images attracted me to photography. Initially, my pursuit was not about f. stops or light of focal lengths. The technical underpinnings came later and slowly. What captivated me were the characters, the relationships, the places, the richness of the history. This curiosity and appetite have remained with me to this day and inform all my video and still photography.
I look carefully and I am moved by still and motion picture photographers:
Koudelka, Winogrand, Kratochvil, Salgado, Friedlander, Cartier-Bresson, among many
Toland, Wong-Howe, Sobocinsky,Idziak, Prieto, Deakens, Klausmann, Kalari, Martinovic, Dod-Mantel
Here are some basic principles that continue to guide me:
-Pick up the camera
-Find a shot
-Hold the shot, let the scene play
-Be unreasonably patient
-Be willing to move
-Beware of restlessness
-When expectations are derailed or thwarted, keep going
-Let heart and gut influence choices as much as thoughts