I am a visual artist living in the Baraboo Hills of Wisconsin amid Hickory trees, prairie and natural beauty of all kinds. After growing up in Green Bay I went to college in Milwaukee, lived in Australia for six years and received a graduate degree there. I settled in Madison Wisconsin to raise a family and start a design and art business creating children’s environments for healthcare that lasted for 30 years.
As a child I knew myself to be a visual artist (although I didn’t know the term then) because I always liked looking intently at things . . . cars, faces, furniture, bridges, paintings, trees, buildings, everything. I liked to see how outlines met to create form, how the myriad of surface textures reflected light differently, and how different colors gave off different feelings. I was particularly interested in finding the special beauty of the person, thing or scene I was looking at. Everything has its own beauty, and as a photographer I seek to find it and then communicate it to others.
I first picked up a camera in college after receiving a free subscription to Popular Photography Magazine. I was excited to get my first roll of film developed, but completely disappointed when the boring and lifeless prints were so different than what I was seeing as I pressed the shutter button. The continuing work of my photographic journey is translating my vision and feelings of what is in front of me into a finished image.
After a few years of shooting I realized that, although the subject of a photograph and its lighting are very important, a finished image that’s truly compelling needs to be molded by the artist to give it the emphasis, the clarity of message that the photographer intends. With this in mind I started a 15 year self-directed apprenticeship in the darkroom guided by many books, workshops and the sacrificing of a couple hundred pounds of photographic paper and chemistry. With only the limited controls of brightness and contrast possible in the darkroom I learned how to coax the essence of an image from a negative, and translate my vision and emotion onto a print. With the unlimited digital controls that Photoshop now offers (many of which I find indispensible) I am grateful for the essential training that my darkroom years provided by keeping me focussed on finding the life, the essential magic, of the image itself.
Music has been a constant in my life too. I write and perform songs, inspired mostly by blues rhythms. Music informs my photography because they share many of the same elements – rhythm, the color of sound, brightness and contrast, harmony and discord, and poetry.
I have benefited greatly from workshops with acclaimed photographers Joyce Tenneson, Keith Carter, David Plowden, Greg Gorman, Mark Edward Harris and my association with William Clift. In addition to the above mentors I am influenced by photographers Robert Mapplethorpe, Michael Kenna, Paul Strand, Richard Avedon, Dianne Arbus, Loretta Lux, Irving Penn, and Annie Liebovitz; the painters Johannes Vermeer and Gustav Klimt; illustrator Chris VanAllsberg; and sculptor/environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy.
My work has been exhibited at the Chazen Museum of Art, Madison WI, the office of the Lt Governor in the Wisconsin State Capitol, the Overture Center Galleries, the Aamanda Smith Gallery, Johnson City TX , Steinhauer Gallery at the University of Wisconsin Arboreum, the Fanny Garver Gallery Madison, and is included in numerous private collections. I am a founding member of the Center for Photography Madison.