My body of work represents a continuing photographic journey, which began with watching my father develop small photographs in my mother's kitchen, which he disguised as a darkroom by hanging blankets over the windows to block the light. Watching the image appear on the blank sheet of paper as the pungent aroma of the chemistry filled the room was magical! I think I was hooked for life right then and there.
Although my fascination with photography was born at that time, it did not become reality until 1980 when I purchased a portrait studio and began making my living as a photographer. I did not enter the world of professional photography as a novice, having been a very serious amateur studying under some of the best portrait photographers in the country.
Within a relatively short time my work became recognized in my native state of Kansas and at a national level as well. My portrait work has been included in exhibits at Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida as well as various other locations around the country, and has been featured in the PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER, the journal of the Professional Photographers of America on three occasions.
In 1988 I received the Kodak Gallery Award for Photographic Excellence
In 1989 it was my privilege to be honored by the Kansas
House of Representatives as the featured artist for the Kansas Day festivities
at the State Capitol building in Topeka.
My goal is to make photographs that are worthy of any collection. To that end I endeavor to make each of my photographs perfect, both technically and aesthetically, and for them to strike a positive emotional chord in the viewer. Recently I have begun printing with archival digital materials as well as making traditional silver prints.
I have lived and worked near Nathrop in Chaffee County, Colorado since 1991.
For several years after the first digital images began appearing in magazines, at workshops, and finally in galleries, I swore that I would always be regarded as a dinosaur and that my art would always be printed on traditional, silver gelatin media. Two major uncertainties about the digital process bothered me: The tonal quality of the print itself, and the permanency of the inks and papers. I had heard mostly negative things about both. Early inkjet prints appeared to be good quality at first glance, but when examined closely had serious flaws resulting from the crude dot patterns produced by factory printers and the software that ran them. Under even low magnification the dot patterns were very obvious and could come nowhere close to matching the beautiful tonality of a fine grained silver print. They tended to look more like the poor, halftone photographs seen in newspapers.
In June of 2002 I attended a gathering of photographers on the cutting edge of this brave new world of digital imaging. I went with the express purpose of proving to them that nothing produced digitally could match the quality I could get with my silver prints. I'm afraid I have to admit that I was proven to be wrong!
New software has provided for true virtual continuous tone printing. The dot size, while still not as fine as the grain of a silver print, is acceptably small. And, with the proper printer software and special inks, the dots can be made to overlap resulting in remarkably subtle, continuous tone prints. Traditionally color printers use four colors of ink, cyan, magenta, yellow, and black to produce all the colors necessary to reproduce an image. For black and white printing the three color cartridges are replaced by three shades of gray from very light to nearly black.
The inks, at least for black and white printing, have been developed to be truly archival in nature. Instead of dye based inks, as used in the original inkjet process, Carbon pigment inks are now readily available. As you know, Carbon is one of the most stable elements in the Universe! The inkjet papers available today are 100% rag just as those used in other fine art genres.
While digital capture devices (cameras) are improving at a very rapid pace, they are quite expensive and not rugged enough to survive the extremes of my work. I believe the cold, rainy, wet, snowy, hot, dusty, get knocked over, dropped and beat up, outdoor conditions in which I photograph are just too much for electronic gadgets that use a lot of battery power! So I continue to make my photographs with the same 4 x 5 inch view camera on the same type of film that I always have. That's where the old meets the new.
After I have made the negative, I scan it at a 1 to 1 size ratio. Usually my 4 x 5 inch negatives are scanned to a file size of about 100 MB. Smaller negatives are scanned to around 30 MB. The resolution (dots per inch) varies depending on the type of scan, drum or flatbed, and the size that the final print expected to be. The negative files are then worked to the desired end using Adobe PhotoShop, just as I used to dodge, burn, mask, and crop prints in the darkroom. When I am satisfied with the image it is saved with another program that allows for enlarging the image up to roughly eight times the linear dimensions of the original negative with no loss of image quality. The size of the final file depends on the image and the print size, but will generally be between 30 MB and 300 MB.
The artwork is printed on 100% rag paper using state of the art Carbon based inks. They are guaranteed to be as permanent as any other photographic process