Over the past three decades, my life as a visual artist has been intimately linked to my role as a teacher; each part of the equation being enriched by the experience of the other.
It is from this union that the mindset of the educator ignited the work of the photographer. Within the pedagogical framework that I provided my students grew a challenge to myself as a visual artist. “It is not the camera nor the technology that makes a great image; it is the vision of the person behind the lens,” I told my students, while requesting that they leave their digital cameras at home until they learned how to see; how to become good observers.
For the past three years, I followed the path of these words. I took to the streets of Manhattan, relying exclusively on toy cameras, Holga and Diana in my pursuit of the cityscape. My intention was to let go of the controls that photographers are so fond of, in order to free myself from reliance on technology and its penchant for visual acuity; to put to the test my own process of “seeing.”
From the very first roll of film, I had fallen in love with the beauty of the soft image and the elegance of the square format. I got used to carrying several toys with me during the course of a day. I am not a purist, in the toy camera sense of the word; welcoming creative intervention of light leaks and streaks. After months of experimenting, I began to tape my cameras to prevent excessive light leaks so that the outcome could be a reliable representation of my observation at the time of the image capture.
The simplicity of this process promoted and sustained my focus on discovery, and allowed intuition to become the guiding force of each composition. These images are part of my ongoing mission to reveal and re-invent New York, photographically. But a deeper significance lies in their ability to preserve and inspire an appreciation of the “not so sharp.”
There is much grace and beauty in the undefined. When the content of the image is left to ambiguity, it allows the viewer to depend more on imagination, enabling the eyes to tune in, look beyond the obvious, and perhaps perceive a bit of the mysterious. In returning to my roots in film, I have reinforced my understanding of the importance of the moment of image capture, and in so doing, I established a greater intimacy with my subject.
While I had acquired these ideas intellectually, a long time ago,it became evident as a result of my work with toy cameras, that these were more than ideas. It had become the intuitive part of my photographic journey, and will remain a living foundation and my personal point of view. [Official Website]
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