Traveling for My Art

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I use my itchy feet to make my art.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in love with seeing new places, meeting new people, and encountering different cultures.  Many of my images have been, and continue to be, created during my travels.

Like all travelers, there have been some personal “achievements”:  being tear gassed in 3 countries (USA, Malaysia, & the Philippines), seeing all 3 enshrined dictators (Ho, Mao, & Vladimir).  There have been myriads of great experiences and a few disturbing ones.

During one visit to Thailand, I’ve missed being in the midst of flying hand grenades by less than 2 hours, but got some great images of what almost became a civil war, as well as a few from the celebration of the Thai New Year (Songkran).

However, whether on the other side of the world or my own backyard, it is all about the lines and the light, trying to create visual haikus, frozen moments in time which are pleasing at first viewing and which reveal more upon further observation.  A love of photojournalism may account for so many images that comment upon the human condition.  Sometimes being a “street photographer” just happens, and feels wonderful.

It might be this drive to know and understand more about Mankind that explains why so often my destinations are determined by cultural events or archeological sites.  Although, harking back to what first attracts this eclectic eye, line and light, when one examines the images captured at archeological sites one sees patterns and rhythms more than documentation.

Once, when confronted with this observation about my work I replied: “Remember the difference between an amateur photographer and a professional one is that both may go somewhere and shoot 300 frames, but the first will show you 303 & the later will show you a dozen or less.”  My collection of postcard or guidebook images, which remain “For my eyes only” is immeasurably greater than my portfolio.

So why not do travel articles and submit images for calendars and postcards?  Well, for the same reason that I use about 1% of the possibilities presented by the computer programs I use today to prepare images for a printer.  It is just not what makes me happy.

I shoot digital captures the same way I shoot film.  I compose in camera.  If there are no clouds in the landscape I work with that; and if there is a telephone pole ‘ruining’ the shot, I either skip the shot or accept it.  Come to think of it, some of my favorite commentary images involve telephone or electrical poles or satellite dishes which sour a scene. 

If I am not letting my heart govern my work, then it does not give me the joy, or, more precisely, the exhilaration that I require from “art”.

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