Black Scorpion

As our workshop in ended in Louisiana, we spent a few hours in New Orleans. At first there were none of those things you would expect on the street. After lunch the performers were out. I made several of this guy swallowing a sword but I always seem to go back to the images that seem more human. Regardless of his tattooed face, he is still a human being who is a showman. My friend Brian ( me have some images that he could have taken, the dolphin was one and this was the other. He might have made more of the sword swallowing. I have never considered myself a street photographer but I feel like I learn a lot about making portraits when I make them so I will continue. 


    I have spent the summer mostly reflecting on the work I want to make, reading and looking at things that will hopefully help me get there. I also wanted to make sure I know what I am doing when I start teaching in a few weeks so I have made some pinhole. I also tried cliche verre and decided to combine them with collodion negatives. which is what these images are. The one with color is mordancage. I like that they are never finished and I can go back and rework into them until I am happy with them. 

Holliday Travels

After a trip to Asheville a week or so ago, I went to eastern KY for a few days and from there I was on my way to Boone, North carolina. I was driving through Tennesee and noticed this interesting place. I had drove past it and thought I would regret it, if I didn't turn around. I was photographing when this gentleman came up to me and offered to tell me about the place. He didn't offer much information other than it belong to a friend and he wasn't sure of its fate long term. Who knew the statue of Liberty was in Elizabethton Tennesee?

A Time of Experimentation

I haven't posted in awhile mainly because I have been figuring out how I want to present my iPhone images. I could have just posted the file but I have been learning new ways to print them. The first image is a salt print. I have been experimenting with different salts, Onion Salt, Celery Salt, Garlic Salt and This one is Himalayan Pink Salt. The Second image is a Lith Print from a digital positive I made during a workshop with Aspen Hochhalter during SPE. More to come!


    in the summer of 1991, I walked into my first photography class in Roanoke, VA taught by Martin Church. I didn't think of it as anything but another class I needed to take and in fact, I almost took it with another instructor. Luckily my advisor battled me into taking Marty's class. This ended up being a life altering decision because had I not taken that class, I never would have went to Virginia Intermont College and who know if I would have a Bachelors degree in anything? Also this has been a friendship filled with hiking, camping, canoes, roadtrips, food, vacations, parties, music, books, street characters, family, all night printing and film developing and even seeing Jesus Christ himself when we put liquid light on the cabinet door and developed it.  There have been a few times when I have thought this is it! Like when he moved to Arizona and then Hawaii but it just allowed me to visit those places and we began sharing through mail and e-mail. Eventually his family was just a drive away again, Allowing me to spend countless weekends like this one.  I  i have learned a lot from Marty but the sharing of Ideas and great conversations I think have shaped me as a person. I owe the man so much for setting me on this journey that started with one photography class and has turned into a lifelong friendship with grey hair and in my case a balding head.  

Jay's Light, VI, Beer Bottles and Bathtubs

Anyone who was lucky enough to attend Virginia Intermont College since 1973 for photography until its closing this year,  knows Jay Phyfer. I attended from 1995-1998 and I look back on those years, as some of the best years of my life.  When I think of Jay the first thing I think of is his infectious laugh after all he is a man who is so charismatic you want to hang out with him and hear all his stories and jokes as well as learn from him. Part of the reason I picked VI was there was an intimacy that wasn't present at VCU. Jay took care of you. He helped me find a place to live before I moved to Bristol. Not only was he a great program coordinator, As a teacher, I think of his ability to stay in touch with the trends while teaching from a historical perspective. Unlike a lot of programs, at VI there were tons of classes in photography to take. The first class I had with Jay was Color 1, and I failed the first legendary test and knew I had to work harder after that. Now, I can't  look at an interesting color photo and not think of Jay. 

When I look back, I wished I had visited Jay and Joe and the school more. I kept thinking I would visit more when I was successful in photography. This was ridiculous because I have denied myself some very meaningful friendships and I may never really be successful. Everytime I saw Jay, He would say come and visit and only cared about friendship and maybe that I was making images whether they were in MOMA or not. I have seen Jay three times this year and hopefully will see him a few more. Sorry Its taken so long to gain perspective, Jay but thanks for your wisdom and patience!   If you ask anyone who was in VI photo they might say Jay walks on water if not he at least walks in bathtubs. 


This image was taken in Hawaii back in 2006, after I just bought my first digital camera. I knew at the time, it was a special image because it was my first abstraction in the landscape. I am not sure I could have ever made it with a film camera but  being able to see it immediately on the back of the digital camera seemed to be a game changer. I lived with this image for four years before I began to pursue abstractions as a direction when I got an iPhone. This magical place helped me see in a new way and I feel really grateful for that. 

Sun, Sand and Sound in the Pinhole

My brother James was with me on this trip to the Sound. There were a couple of people hanging out in the water and in the sand. The light was beautiful so I put my pinhole camera on the tripod. When I laid in front of the camera James told me I was such a character. I told him I have been doing this so long I could care less what anyone thinks. I realized while he had seen lots of images I have made, he had rarely been around me while I  making self portraits in public. I think someone might ask why didn't I just photograph him? I tried but its just easier to do it myself. By the time, i get someone to loose all the symbols on their clothes or direct them, it just seems simpler to do it myself. I like mystery in  posed images and a big Nike symbol isn't going to cut it. But I never feel the same way about shooting a stranger on the street or do I? Maybe when I pick a person to photograph on the street I intuitively avoid those things. A 100 people may walk by that I have no interest in photographing. The self portraits gave me confidence and made me accept my appearance. I have made as many bad photos of myself as good and I never wanted images of me to look like a Idealized colonial painting or something from Olan Mills. I want people to feel something beyond thats pretty. At this point, with everyone doing profile pictures, Am I just doing a glorified Selfie that is better than yours?Or am I still exploring the self as a subject? I am guilty of using my images as profile pictures and I wonder if that in some way degrades the images?