My photos will be on display through the end of December at True Bistro, an upscale vegan restaurant in Somerville, MA, so I’m dedicating this post to photography.
I’ve stopped thinking in 36’s. Frame by frame for almost 40 years, I counted the shots. I watched the numbers on the camera’s dial to know how many shots were left on the roll of film. Then, one day, poof! No more film. No more counting. I still tell myself, “Film is cheap,” but it doesn’t matter really how many shots I take. Oddly, I don’t take more photos than I used to. Factoring in the “delete” button, I may end up with fewer photos at the end of a shoot.
These days, I work in waves, bouncing between my book projects, freelance graphic design, and photography. Sometimes it takes a trip for me to pick up my camera, which helps me focus. That said, my iPhone is always with me and I use its camera almost every day. I’ve even sold photos taken on my iPhone.
In seventh grade I was among a small group of students plucked from art class to learn photography. Seth Joel came down from the high school to teach us. I’m not sure where the darkroom came from, but the school needed students to use it. That’s how photography became my passion, leading to taking a workshop with LIFE Magazine photographer Yale Joel and then studying photography at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
RISD wasn’t about practical photography. It was about art with a capital “A.” But not too abstract, which is what I was doing. Living in Providence, there wasn’t much in the way of nature so I found nature in cars and walls. My photos fell into groups: underwater, on land, and outer space, so I called my senior show at Woods-Gerry Gallery “Unreal Reality.” In 1981, I called an exhibition of the RISD photos at the White Gallery in Tel Aviv “Games of the Imagination.”
During my years in Israel, where I worked as a graphic designer, some portraits crept into my body of abstract work. Thinking my photos were actual landscapes, a question I heard often was, “Where did you take it?”
In New York, Maine, and Massachusetts, I continued to shoot walls and cars, leaving it up to the viewer to interpret my images. It’s only been the past 10 years that my photos have become more realistic, though still abstract. I continue to explore layers: reflections on glass, what’s inside, and what’s beyond.
Even with a realistic twist, my photos may make the viewer wonder what’s real or not, even though they are single exposures, not sandwiched together in Photoshop.