Artistic Statement & Photographic Influences

 

I remember traveling in late 1950 through Indian Territory in the southwest with my family on the way from Kansas to California via Route 66.  I had a brownie box camera and was agog looking out the window at the sandstone bluffs, the Burma Shave signs, the dinosaur museums and the Teepee motels where I desperately wanted to stay the night.  Because my sister fell sick on the way through Arizona we drove up to the handsome Fred Harvey Hotel on the snow-covered south rim of the Grand Canyon, where black bears casually raided the garbage shed, and Hopi staff slipped quietly through the halls, happy to befriend a freckle-faced, dreamy-eyed, 10 year old girl.  I was Sun Princess, according to one very handsome “bellboy”. 

 

Much later I majored in Art History at Columbia University, and took a History of Photography course where I came across the fabulous mid-19th century western landscape photographs of Timothy O’Sulivan and William Henry Jackson, and by contrast, the urban documentary images of New York’s Lower East Side by Lewis Hine.  My work as director of administration to the Department of Arts and Humanities provided access to the darkroom and to several of the photography teachers and that is where my love for photography took root.

 

My approach to finding targets for my camera is basically opportunistic.  I shoot what appeals at the moment.  I have come to realize that my body of work involves explorations of various themes through a variety of processes.    I relate to Edward S. Curtis's Navajo-given name of Shadow Catcher,  which  seems truly apropos for anyone who stalks the light and the dark. 

 

Not necessarily a direct influence, I have pondered the post World War II American tract houses of William Eggleston’s, the nuclear cooling towers of Bernd and Hilla Becher’s, the  window of a 19th century Parisian milliner’s shop of Eugene Atget’s … and marvel at the prescient imagination of these photographers, who recognized the evanescence of the mundane through time.   These photographers have led me to find for my own lens a whimsy in the prosaic and utilitarian, from small to epic scale.  The capturing of the ephemeral, and my exploration of alternative processes, in the long run, may be the ultimate importance of the lens (and lens-less) for me.   

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