Q: Much of your work brings the wilderness into focus. What about this inspires you?
The wilderness represents an original, essential state of something, in this case nature. This alone is meaningful, but it’s the connection of the wilderness to our overall health and that of all species that interests me. Uncultivated, untouched land is as delicate as it is beautiful and bursting with vitality.
I’ve spent the last 30 years living next to the 2nd largest wilderness area in the continental US and have come to know that wild lands are vulnerable, essential to all life, and require our care. Recognizing the importance of wilderness areas is integral to the central theme I explore in my practice, ‘care of self / care of other’.
Q: What does ‘Care of Self | Care of Other’ refer to?
COS | COO is about the relationship between self-care and caring for the other – whether ‘the other” is person, thing, place, idea, or anything outside the self. How does this relationship shape our experience and that of the greater whole?
Wilderness | Biodiversity, Oppression | Rejection, Comfort | Discomfort are all topics I address in my practice and represent areas of great personal interest and ongoing exploration.
Q: What steered you in this direction?
An enthusiasm for exploration. My twin and I spent our childhood exploring on bikes; to find and see new things equaled continuous excitement. Since high school, I’ve continued to venture into the unknown, spending time in environments as different or far away from mine as I can find.
Q: Why is a discomfort practice important to you?
Finding a way to enjoy arduous things has been a fascinating exploration in and of itself but the practice is grounding, and I cannot imagine living without it today.
Q: How has the pandemic influenced your work?
In the moment I realized that my day-to-day was coming to a stop, I knew I would intensely focus on my practice. As challenging and difficult as the pandemic was, it has afforded me the time and freedom to explore new ideas, new media, and new technology.
Q: Photography is a medium based on the preservation of a single moment. Are you attempting to document a changing landscape by freezing it in time?
Yes, especially given how rapidly we are altering the earth’s surface. Surface Surveys is a record of the planet’s natural expression, unhindered yet dominated by man. The surveys highlight the contrasts between protected and unprotected lands in our current, anthropocentric age.
Q: Why is color important to you?
I love to spend time observing, and at times, color’s subtlety strikes me in a way that I feel as if I’m glimpsing something hidden and fleeting. Color is ever-changing, never the same moment to moment.
From the age of 5, I grew up with frequent migraines that would debilitate me for whole days. I managed the pain through color visualization. I have wondered about this and any connection to my interests today.
Q: Tell me a bit about growing up in Pittsburgh and the influence it had on your work.
I grew up in industrial Pittsburgh of the 70’s and 80’s, and still recall the smell of pollution on summer mornings. My father spent his career at US Steel. We drove American cars. It was city proud of its blue collar and melting-pot constituents and still is. Growing up and experiencing life through the lens of industry, while being introduced to the idea of exotic places, catalyzed an internal need to go out and explore and experience natural, untouched places.
By mid-20’s, I was irrevocably drawn to parts unknown, particularly to open, vast, remote places.
Q: It seems that this city eventually inspired the move West to Idaho and its protected environment.
Yes, I drove to Idaho in ‘92, where I have been for the past 30 years surrounded by the one of the largest areas of protected land in the US. I wanted to live in a place where the natural environment dictated the way of life, where one could sense its physical geography. Our 4 distinct seasons, five surrounding mountain ranges, hillside ordinances, and Dark Sky Preserve make it possible to notice the changing of the seasons nearly daily. It’s an exhilarating environment.
Q: Who are the artists who have influenced you?
Richard Long, Ursula von Rydingsvard, James Turrell, Leo Villereal, Sabina Ratte, Godmin