Creative Inspiration

Babylon = Babble On...

Although well versed in digital photography, I began my interest in photography with film 25 years ago and still use it today. Therefore you can assume every image on this website is a result of Kodak colour transpareny film, or AGFA SCALA black and white slide film unless otherwise stated. No image on this site has been manipulated with digital correction software. Accept the imperfections - they are what makes life authentic.

In a digital era using film has become a historic or alternative process*. However, using film trains the eye to manipulate light, organize composition and focus on details that can be overlooked with digital photography. Film photographers learn from their mistakes and are able to analyze them rather than simply delete them in order to perfect their technique. I prefer to shoot less while capturing more in each image which leaves little room for error. Using film also allows for a more poignant union between the message and the medium because it amplifies the imperative nature of shifting time.

Many fine art photographers work strictly in black and white and feel it is a more creative interpretation of their message by avoiding colour and the distraction it can create within an image. However, colour has offered an unparalleled palette that only nature can provide and intrigues me. 

Historically, colour has also been used in a variety of unexpected platforms. In ancient times the colour blue was derived from crushing Lazulite (Lapis Lazuli), a stone mined almost exclusively in Afghanistan. Following the stone, and colour, provided evidence of ancient trade routes from Afghanistan to other parts of the world such as its use in Egyptian tombs.

My work is also a result of Synesthesia which means I interpret my environment, experiences, objects and increments of time in specific colours. For me the number seven has always been linked to royal purple and Tuesday always feels like powder blue. Colour has an indelible affect on physical, mental and emotional aspects and its symbolism can be found everywhere in the world.

Vladimir Nabakov, the infamous scribe of Lolita, had Synesthesia and wrote about it in several of his other novels. It also may propelled his  hypothesis of the Polyomattus Blue butterfly migration which was proven accurate almost 40 years after Nabokov presented the work. Philip Glass, the American minimalist composer is an example of someone who uses sound-colour relationship to develop his work and has been quoted saying "B flat is the colour blue."

The symbiotic relationship between architecture and colour had a profound affect on my work in graduate school. Unfortunately my ideas often fell flat when expressed to those who may have been brilliant in some areas, but were often creatively bankrupt when it came to the complexity of esoteric and abstract ideologies saturated with colour theory. **

Colour has the ability to create symbolic capital when overlaid onto architecture. Prolific examples can be supported with the pink fortification walls surrounding the Imperial City of Marrakech in Morocco and the stark contrast between white and cobalt blue on the island of Santorini in Greece. Others examples include Jodhpur in India and Chefchaouen (Chaouen or Xauen) in Morocco. Both cities are painted blue making the enormity of one colour in one place a visually compelling. The colour of the architecture has created unique element of brand marketing and identity for these places. In these examples, blue is a direct reference to the spirituality of each city. 

The most important theme in my work is the absence of people. While most of the images are taken in public spaces there are rarely people present. The exception emerges when it is impossible to dislodge people from the image because they become part of the changing landscape, like at Coney Island, Times Square or Djema el-Fnaa in Marrakech.  The other exception where a person stands alone in the frame amplifying how unique each person is in the world such as the image of Lincoln Center (Architecture). The person in the frame is my Mother and I felt it was important to caputure her time with me while in New York City.

The most inspirational photographer for his wisdom toward life is Gordon Parks (1912- 2006) who once said" "The guy who takes a chance, who walks the line between the known and the unknown, who is unafraid of failure, will succeed." I have failed many times. However, welcoming the unknown by challenging it rather than fearing it has propelled me creatively and intellectually far beyond my own expectations. 

The photographer I relate to in regard to creative expression is Hungarian-born photographer Andre Kertesz (July 2, 1894 - September 28, 1985), who eventually made his way to New York via Paris. When asked by a NY Times reporter at the age of 90 why he still takes photographs, he replied  "I am still hungry."  Working in black and white for the majorityof his life, he began to work predominantly in colour after his wife passed away. The heartbreak he experienced after losing her may have been offset by the subdued colours he introduced into his work. Those who know me personally will notice another connection to Kertesz and may understand how I align with his sensitivity veiled behind the lens of a camera.

Andre Kertesz, From My Window NYC 1979

In contrast to Kertesz's work, my work has always been a myriad of vibrant colours and abstract details that enhance the poetic nature of time.

Perhaps following the precept of Andre Kertesz, I may work strictly in black and white once life untangles the overlapping themes I experience as an artist and an academic.  

*To read more about alternative processes currently being used by a photographer in New York, please travel to this link at your leisure.

** With the exception of E.W.A who tolerated my eccentricities and usually propelled them with silence and a raised eyebrow.

Image: Andrez Kertesz, "From my Window" series (Polaroid)

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