|LIKE MANY FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHERS, I have no formal photographic education. I began the serious pursuit of the Art and Technique of Photography in 1980. My formal artistic education consists of a degree in Architecture from Kansas State University in 1966 and 45 years of designing buildings. In addition to the practice of Architecture, I also owned an interior design firm for 12 years, designing and serving as Art Consultant for numerous companies throughout Kansas.
I LEARNED THE TECHNICAL SIDE OF PHOTOGRAPHY by reading everything I could find, exposing lots of film and spending endless hours in the darkroom. I recognized early that the view camera was the appropriate tool for the images I wanted to make. I learned the joy of being able to carefully study the image on the camera's ground glass. I learned by studying my negatives and my prints. I learned from studying my successes and learned even more from my failures. Just as it is not possible to master painting or drawing, or any art form by reading about it, neither is it possible to become a skilled photographer without actually doing it. I continue to do it and I continue to learn.
THE AESTHETIC ASPECT OF PHOTOGRAPHY is much different, and I believe, more difficult to understand and analyze. The elements involved in forming an image are diverse. From the simple arrangement of objects to the esoteric "mood" of the image, the artist's mind sorts it all out, working at mental levels far removed from logic. While certain aesthetic "rules" can be learned and applied, the concepts of aesthetic vision cannot be put into thoughts or words. Photographic vision is something that develops within you, growing as you grow, changing as you change, reflecting the way you "see" photographically. The aesthetic of photographic vision, or photographic "seeing", is a very personal thing. Aesthetic vision exists in the mind. Fortunately for us, the artist and the viewer, the communication of aesthetic vision is independent of any language process.
MY EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE AS AN ARCHITECT influences my photographic vision to a very great extent. Scale, rhythm, balance, pattern, texture and light are the tools of an Architect and I use the same tools when composing on the cameras ground glass. But each time I make a photograph, I strive to go beyond the simple application of the "rules" and reach within myself for that personal aesthetic. That feeling that comes from within me and says, "This is the photograph that I want to make."