To look at life in ways which reveal new realities is the quest of any serious artist; new ways of looking and thinking about one's relationship to oneself and to the larger world on which all of us fleetingly reside.
Art has the capacity to transform and transcend that which is pedestrian and commonplace, giving the viewer (in the case of visual art) the opportunity to see and think about why the artist has produced the work in the first place.
The creative process is not separate from an artist's total being…or so I believe. I know the history of art doesn't always support this attitude, but I am convinced that one's art and one's life are intertwined, each reflecting the other.
My search began a long time ago when I moved to New York City, determined to be part of the nerve of my generation. I was determined to find my way in the small world of photography. There were no photographic galleries then; we exhibited our work on the walls of coffeehouses. We met at small cafes in Greenwich Village, and talked about art, music, literature, dance and theatre. New York City in the mid-to-late fifties was bursting with creative and highly original people.
I was part of that early movement of photographers who roamed the streets, day and night, looking for ways to express what we wanted to say about the chaos of the world in mid-20th Century. For me it was about meeting such photographic luminaries as W. Eugene Smith, Gordon parks, Cornell Capa and the great Edward Steichen, director of photography at The Museum of Modern Art. Each in their own way contributed to my early development as a photographer.
But it was my meeting Aaron Siskind that helped turn me inward, toward the creation of images that transcended time and place. His many years of friendship and support helped me immensely, so that I could easily move between what was "inside" and what was "outside."
I lived and worked in New York City for seven tightly packed and charged years. I had opportunities to find myself in situations that heretofore I had only dreamed about.
Photographing Louis Armstrong while traveling with him and his great sextet of dedicated musicians was a singular thrill, still remembered with fondness these 45 years later. He was very kind to this then 27 year old photographer, on one of my early assignments for METRONOME magazine.
Meeting Tennessee Williams and Bette Davis when on assignment for The New York TIMES Sunday Magazine (in rehearsal for Williams' play, The Night of The Iguna), provided me with ample time to make a series of portraits of Williams and Davis that still "hold."
My work has remained inner directed these past fifteen years, yet I continue to look outward to see the injustices and inequalities that surround me. I have tried, in my own measured way, to visually comment on what I see and believe about the world(s) within which I live.
I am now in the early winter of my life, alive and still curious about this ever-changing and dynamic world - a world filled with too much pain. Early on I said that art transforms and transcends. I deeply believe this. The creative process enhances and ennobles life, changing forever how one sees the world.
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