My predominant medium has been film though I am rapidly transitioning to digital photography and branching out into videos. I no longer make any distinction between my digital media paintings, graphics, mixed media designs or my photographs.
My early background included 15 years in the graphic arts industry in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was a part-time advertising agency photographer but my primary employment was as a typographer, proofreader, and plant supervisor. My photography was also licensed by greeting card and art objects companies. In the late 1970’s, I entered the computer industry. I worked successively for HP and Intel Corporations in Oregon and Microsoft in the Seattle area as a Senior Technical Writer and internal software tools developer. I wrote books for HP on photographic darkroom calculations and programmable timers. I received several awards and grants at Intel including their top corporate award, the Intel Achievement Award, and also from Microsoft for technical achievements.
My primary subjects are coastal and lakeside landscapes, wetlands and shore birds, gardens, women, and specific architectural sites that are considered sacred. I use these subjects to portray the metaphysical and meditative concepts that motivate me.
The email signature quotation I have used for many years serves as a concise statement of my purpose as an artist: “Behind all these manifestations is the one radiance, which shines through all things. The function of art is to reveal this radiance through the created object.” (Attributed to Joseph Campbell). That is to say, I attempt to portray the sublime teachings of my faith in artistic work. My inspiration comes from the mystical writings and teachings of the Bahá’í Faith. I have been a Bahá’í since 1963.
My creative work uses colors in original ways that do not derive from any photographic influences. If I were to characterize my style and use of shapes and colors, I might call it Natural Expressionism because I often partially abstract the natural forms of birds, bodies of water, and trees. I perform most of the abstractions during actual picture taking rather than in post processing. I have been influenced to some degree by a variety of painters. Those influences include Vincent Van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, and Claude Monet. Although some of the backgrounds in my photographs might resemble Impressionist textures, my work is not Impressionism. People often misapply the term to misty and out-of-focus but otherwise ordinary photographs.
After moving to Seattle in 1991 I began systematic scanning of my 35 mm transparencies. I took many of my photographs with Infrared color film and developed them in my own darkroom. I used a variety of techniques to go beyond the medium’s limitations to achieve an original style including strong backlighting, creative filtration, cross processing techniques, Sabattier effect (solarization), film “sandwiches,” and “pushing” film by underexposing and overdeveloping it. Long before digital software became available, I designed and built an optical slide copier out of Nikon and enlarger parts in order to achieve desired effects and colors.
Adobe Photoshop became my primary tool to reinterpret my photograph’s original colors and prepare images for archival printing. I also use Photoshop to suppress excessive grain and scanning artifacts and for various color adjustments. I do not use artificial image effects or digital filters.
“Worthwhile art requires something of us. It insists that we become participants, what J. R. R. Tolkien has called ‘sub-creators,’ in the process of understanding the ideas and insights to which the artist has given sensually perceptible form. Art which does not require this creative effort on our part usually has little of importance to say to us. Art which has no subtlety, which does not stretch us beyond our present awareness, simply reminds us of what we already know.” – John Hatcher, The Divine Art of Revelation
Biographical and Personal Notes:
I created a video memorial to my three-year-old son, David. The Bahá’í Faith is the belief system I have always lived by.
I have included a statement of my interests here because it expands on what motivates my art and photography: Bahá’í Faith, environmental concerns, animal welfare and care, cosmology, harmony of science and religion, and health and nutrition issues. I am nonpartisan and generally apolitical but definitely not conservative.
My Favorite Music: primarily mid- and late Renaissance (Vivaldi to Mozart), Beethoven, nearly all Jazz, Celtic, folk and pop-rock, Persian and Indian, and a highly eclectic variety of other music as well. Among my favorites: Moody Blues, Joni Mitchell, Enya, Van Morrison, Sarah MacLachlin, Stevie Nicks, Gloria Estefan, Loreena McKennitt, Bobby McFerrin, and many others. I don’t enjoy any Heavy Metal, Rap, Las Vegas or Broadway genres, or “elevator music.”
A Few of My Favorite Artists: El Greco, Pablo Picasso (earlier rather than later), Vincent Van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Claude Monet, Mark Tobey, Paul Cezanne, and Wasilly Kandinsky. I am currently wriitng a book about abstract art that concentrates on those artists. It was inspired by Kandinsky’s book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art but covers a different topic range than he did.
My Favorite Book: Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh
My Favorite Types of Movies: recent films with high quality CGI and little or no violence unless absolutely necessary for setting or character development. I never watch overtly violent or war-related movies or those with vulgar or buffoonish humor. I enjoy watching high-quality animation such as Disney/Pixar films. My current favorite TV shows are Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, The Dog Whisperer, Meerkat Manor, NCIS, Damages, Fringe, and Atlanta Braves broadcasts. Classic favorite TV: The X-Files. I rarely watch News channels except for BBC-America. I like the Ovation, Sci-Fi, National Geographic, Science, History, and Discovery channels.
I recently moved to Omaha, Nebraska with my German Shepherd Dogs, Magic and Jewel. I have two sons, Nicholas and Benjamin. Both have recently served in the US Air Force in the computer field. I have driven a low emissions hybrid car for the past three years.
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
– Dylan Thomas