Entrance to Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2020. 590nm infrared. Canon EOS R, Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM at 47mm. Exposure: 1/1600 sec., ƒ/7.1, ISO 400.
I fell in love with photography in 1974—or, more to the point, I became infatuated with working in the darkroom. My images were not anywhere near special, but I spent hours in a cloud of toxic fumes and vapors, watching the alchemy of images emerge from blank pieces of paper. I felt like a magician. Anyone who has worked in a darkroom knows that feeling well. But I abandoned my darkroom in the mid 1980s for color transparency film, the choice for a working magazine professional at that time. Now, like most of us, I use digital cameras and work in the “grayroom” (yes, my studio walls are painted 18 percent gray). I still feel as if I’m creating magic, only now it’s on a computer screen. “A little bit of saturation here, some burning and dodging there, a bit more contrast overall.”
From the start, I led a peripatetic life, working as a mountain and river-rafting guide in the U.S., which progressed to guiding treks and private expeditions to places like Nepal, Bhutan, China, central Asia—you name it. From there, I was propelled into the life of a full-time photographer. Travel and photography became my passion, one intertwined with the other. I have always chosen places that make me a bit uneasy, places that challenge me. I have the same philosophy for my photography—to grow as an artist, I can’t rely on a previous moment of inspiration. I want to work at the edge of my comfort level, at the moment between competence and risk.
Inherently, photography is much more difficult than it appears at first. As one delves further into the depths of creating new and evocative images, it is clear that what seemed deceptively simple to photograph was maddingly difficult to render in an image. With the advent of high-resolution digital cameras and sophisticated processing, there is not an “Everest” in creative photography. But it sure is fun climbing this photographic mountain.
Camel herder, Gobi Desert, Mongolia, 2019. 590nm infrared with blue/red channel swap. Canon EOS R, Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM at 105mm. Exposure: 1/800 sec., ƒ/7.,1 ISO 640.