My love affair with photography began in the summer of 1969. For over forty years I was happily devoted to the black and white film creative process. I enjoyed working in the darkroom but I resisted the modern digital trend.
Several years ago I decided to experiment with digital photography and I haven't looked back since. With it came a complete new direction as I began to abandon the philosophy of the decisive moment. Freed from the restraint of the darkroom, I began to push the boundaries of my photography to better express my new concerns of perception and memory. The digital world seemed to me, to open up something unseen but undeniably present beyond the mind's eye. The lines between mind and camera blurred as a whole new photographic technique revealed that unseen world in a wholly unexpected way.
About the show
When I was six years old, I lived in the town of Columbus, Nebraska. One day my father took me to see an orange metal building that had become the talk of the town. This was the A-Bomb test building made of corrugated steel. It had survived an atomic bomb blast at Yucca Flats, Nevada. The roof had caved in but it was still standing. It was proudly displayed at Behlen Manufacturing Co. where it was made.
My father explained that the houses made of bricks or wood had been blown down but not the steel building. I was too young to really comprehend the power of an atomic bomb but I was sure of one thing: in the future everyone, including my family would be living in a corrugated steel house. I was also sure that all school buildings would be made of steel. “Duck and cover” in a steel school building would keep us safe. Such was the reasoning of a six year old during the Cold War Era.
Fast forward 60 years, to May of 2015 and I had been working several days on a new series of photographs in my studio in Santa Fe. I needed a break and I decided to drive to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque to attend the Asian Pacific Folk Festival. Arriving late, I barely got my camera out of the bag when the announcement was made that the festival was officially over.
Disappointed, I decided to take a quick walk around the museum. I breezed through the first area and then walked into a space that stopped me in my tracks. There before me was the American flag that flew at Trinity Site on August 1945. To the right was Fatman and Little Boy, the first atomic bombs. To the left was the 1942 Packard limo that carried Oppenheimer and the other scientists during the Manhattan Project.
I felt my shoulders drop as my camera fell by my side. I stood motionless, trying to take it all in. Here before me were the actual artifacts from one of the most pivotal moments in human history. My first thought was to use reason and logic to try and sort it all out, but after a time, I abandoned this approach. Eventually, my subconscious returned me to Columbus, Nebraska were as a boy I had stepped inside the orange painted A-Bomb test building. Now I was standing silently trying to free my mind of all thoughts.
Suddenly, I was brought back into the present by a voice over the PA: “the Museum will be closing in 20 minutes”. I raised the camera to my eye and focused on the rear window of the Packard limo flanked by the orange corrugated steel surround…