WildFire Prophecies

WildFire Prophecies, are images of the blackened  remains of forests  after wildfires have emptied them of life. Threatened species, such as Sequoia and Redwood trees are keepers of time that thrive in Old Growth Forests. As they disappear into ash the structural legacies for old growth conditions are gone. Old Growth Forests embody slow time, a time of ancient trees and unmovable glaciers. In the Anthropocene era their scorched remnants  embody the sublime. 

A FireScape is an area of burnt forestland recovering back to an intact biodiversity. Named after a Coronado National Forest program for the survival of bionomically sound forests, FireScapes are sites of despair and rejuvenation that exemplify fast and slow time. Wildfires rage to the sound of runaway trains, dormant seedlings emerge from the combusted soil.  As the trees go up in smoke, these haunted WildFire Prophecies are a warning that climate change is upon us. 

Lands in Public Trust

The National Parks are America's jewels but they occupy a tangential space in the American psyche.   They are obscured by news of unprecedented fires, disappearing water and mismanagement.  They are under budget and under-staffed and despite public idealization the Parks are not considered a voter concern in elections.  They have become places to flee to in a pandemic world, but an uneducated stream of visitors tramples the fragile ecosystems preserved for us, the people. The impacts on National Parks from governmental neglect, overuse, resource extraction, wildfire and environmental degradation have made them vulnerable in ways they have never been before. 

My photographs celebrate the beauty of the natural world,  but they also chronicle how humans harm the biology of plants, animals, lakes and rivers and forests meant to bring them harmony.  My recent focus has been on the spectacle of the burnt forest as a harbinger of a  new natural landscape that bears echoes of the sublime.  As climate change continues to evolve these haunted  landscapes will increase in number and will stand as a visual symbol of what  mankind has done to the planet.

Tree Rings - Keepers of Time

Keepers of Time, is a photographic study of tree rings from the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research (LTRR), at the University of Arizona, Tucson.  These archeological remnants are central to disciplines that span biology, archaeology, aesthetics, climate reconstruction, wildfire recovery and environmental studies.  The LTRR’s multi-taxon collection is an irreplaceable source of biological and human information that includes a record of the oldest trees in the world. The images in The Keepers of Time, also document the transformation of tree specimens into objects of study: embedded with artifacts of research: scientific notations, bits of tape, wads of cotton and strands of string, new identities accumulated in their lives as dendrological subjects.

Making these photographs, and living with them over time has allowed me to engage in magical thinking about the hidden lives of objects, combining the scientific facts they provide, the personal narratives they invoke, and the historical and cultural associations they engender.

Through my camera’s lens, I discover the messages held within these specimens, and through my photographs, I relay these messages as the pictures tell their stories.

Chasing The West

Chasing the West, is work made while traveling westward on summer pilgrimages from the Midwest. Stuck in the landlocked  state of Iowa, it was a comfort to believe my home still existed in all its natural beauty. I camped in my 1964 Airstream from National Park to State Park and felt like I was almost catching up with what I missed. But climate change and population growth in the Western states wreaked havoc on the natural world in my absence. I found existing industries, mining, gas, and timber extraction, continued to mar the terrain. 

I considered how to use the physical form of the photograph in an historic manner and employed a Horseman SW612 Panoramic camera, in addition to the 4x5  Linhof, as an homage to the Western expedition photographers I'd studied, with a nod to the amateurs I have encountered on the highway, using the “stitch”mode of their Kodak or Panasonic digital cameras to capture the full expanse of the natural world as they saw it. 

Inventory of My Mother's House

Inventory of My Mother’s House,  is an installation of images of the objects in my parents' house. As a group these photographs reflect  their willingness to consume the  products that symbolize the good life, a treasure trove of postindustrial kitsch. These images testify that mass production has created an effluvium of products with  little or questionable value, objects whose functions are emotional, collectibles and Franklin Furnace statuary that stand for the "authentic."

In many ways my parents' house was a postmodern space. Organic and unintentional, its evolution from necessity to ornament mirrored both their economic status and the robust health of an insatiable economy inclined toward the production of trifles. The walls of their house displayed all eras and styles, all represented with equal weight, nothing was more important than anything else, and so nothing could be thrown away. This collection of discardables, impossible to discard, decorated my childhood.

My parents steadfastly refused to part with their collection, it made me wonder if these objects were incantations of their past. The house belonged to my parents, and certain objects were my father's, but collection was orchestrated by my mother. Together they propose a narrative beyond the discretion of one nuclear family, encompassing a middle class post war American utopia.  

Here Is New York

Here Is New York, was created from a gallery space open to anyone who made photographs of 911 during and after the towers fell in Downtown Manhattan in 2001.  My work was included in the subsequent publication.

A Spy In The House That Castro Built

Photographs made of Cuba in 2005. more...

The Living and The Dead: That Neapolitan Cult of the Skull 

These photograph were made in and around Naples Italy over three summers starting in 2000. more...

The Gated Resort: A New Colonialism

The images were made in Resorts from a variety of locations including Cuba, Mexico and the United States

China: A Walk Through Time

description coming

New York Narratives

These large formatphotographs of New York City combine traditional and contemporary styles of lookingat the urban landscape.   By working in a“classic” manner--with large format black and white film—and using New YorkCity as subject material, I am following in the footsteps of womenphotographers who worked with large format cameras to generate aesthetic recordsof New York.  Bernice Abbott in the1930’s and Margaret Bourke-White in the 1940’s and 1950’s made seminal imagesof New York that stand today as among the most carefully seen and beautifullyrendered images we have of the city.

 This work posesquestions about how photographs are defined as “modern” or “postmodern,”“contemporary” or “old fashioned” by their users and makers.  The deliberate use of slow shutter speedscreates a dynamic between moving and still figures and emulates the nineteenthcentury practitioners who made documents of urban spaces with limited means ofdescribing motion. 

Detained in Purgatory 1997-2000

Detained inPurgatory: America's Abandoned Prisons, provides access to places viewers mightnot venture—either physically or spiritually--and attempts to provide emotionaland mental images of the current state of America’s Prisons.  These photographs of abandoned prisons aroundthe United States re-describe a system of incarceration whose countenance isrepresented in the public mind as young Black, Native American, or Latinomales, (and statistics show as women of color).

The contemporaryAmerican Criminal Justice System, or as Angela Davis has described it,"The Prison Industrial Complex," represents many prurient interests,the most visible are economic and racial.  The prison system is the fastest growing industry in the United States,and privatization one of the hottest topics as private prisons are seen as aviable means of reviving small communities with vastly expanding prisonpopulations and shrinking natural resources and industry.                                

Thesephotographs were made at Alcatraz Island, Ellis Island,Eastern State Penitentiary and Jamesville Penitentiary.  They propose all prisons shouldbe abandoned, the prisons we are building at a rapid rate shouldbe halted and incarceration in the county reexamined.  Previously prison was seen as a system ofrehabilitation, reintroducing individuals to society as viable members oftheir community.  Modern prisons aretruly penal,  they are constructed and organized around punishment, andmake no effort to reconstruct either bodies or souls.  Finally, these abandoned prison spaces areembodiments of the gothic nature of imprisonment, its barbarity, its isolation,its intolerance, and its basic inhumanity.