My work represents forty years of photographic and visual exploration, with references to the American landscape, minimalist and formalistic abstract images, and popular culture. Rather than separating the underlying philosophies that define, I focus on their shared sensibilities. I seek balance when viewing social and artistic content, not an attitude where “serious” versus the “popular”. I push to look beyond the notions of culture and counter-culture to a broader scenario; to me there is little validity between high and low art and society. Truth is found in cultural myths and mores, found in materials, found in images reflective of their place and time, and found in expression and communication when form follows function.
For the past twenty years, I have focused on the unique American Hot Rod Culture, an interest of mine since grade school days in California. My work and visual interests have centered on the land speed racing culture, which, not surprisingly, was, and is, at the roots of the hot rod culture. In the 1930’s rodders gathered on the dry lakebeds of southern California at places called “Muroc” and “El Mirage”. Drivers and their cars were photographed and documented on black & white film. Coincidentally, it was at this same period of time that Ansel Adams and Brett Weston helped form the f64 Group of photographers in northern California. This group of very serious and dedicated fine art photographers supported the expressive potential of straight, sharp, un-manipulated, black & white photography. Both of these cultural and artistic forms of expression had a profound and lasting effect on my life, however they remained, as it were, separate but equal passions, during the eighties and nineties, values and beliefs began to coincide and finally, during the past decade, I have integrated philosophies to refocus my vision, embracing my roots in modern, and traditional, photography, as well as my roots with the hot rod culture. Visually this contrast provides a feeling of the open western landscape and timelessness, which reinforces the idea that they could have been photographed at any time during the past 50 to 60 years. These images help define cultural roots by reinforcing the parallel connections with early formal black & white photographic work. For me, there is a Zen-like feeling in these photographs which I hope transfers to the viewer. This particular series of work is focused on the hot rod, its design and historic relationship with the landscape in both black & white and color.
I seem to be returning to the roots of the hot rod culture, and my foundations in traditional black & white photography. It seems proper, and in a small way, somewhat profound, at least to me. I am satisfying inner urges to bring both of these passions together.