Early Work features selections from the period that approximately coincides with my years at Louisiana Tech, 1976-85. The appointment was my first tenure-track teaching position. It was an adventurous time of discovery, and in retrospect it seems I was forging a way forward while exploring a variety techniques and approaches. Opportunities for travel in the United States and Europe amplified the adventure.
At the beginning of this period, I was working with both medium-format and 35 mm cameras, including experiments with infrared film. In 1978 I purchased my first view camera, and while I’ve used more flexible equipment when called for, the contemplative process of ground-glass viewing has been my mainstay ever since. During this phase, I also added some staged effects to my repertoire, utilizing “portable signs” set in environments of urban sprawl.
A diverse range of influences informed the work. The debt to Lee Friedlander is obvious. I would also cite Minor White as an inspiration, both for his dedication to the contemplative approach and interest in metaphorical content—not what it is, but what else it is. During this time frame, John Szarkowski’s Mirrors and Windows exhibition at MOMA (and especially his accompanying essay) was a major contribution to the discourse on contemporary photography. As my own work has developed over the years, I find myself clearly on the mirrors end of the spectrum.