Meet the Artist

Meet the Artist

Meet the Artist: Esther Yi

Esther Yi is a writer living in Berlin. She takes pictures for the same reason she writes, which is to pay better attention. She began taking pictures shortly before moving to Berlin two years ago. There was the obvious desire to “record” details of a new home (“Where did I live?”). But there was also the desire, perhaps not so conscious in the beginning, to uncover the images and patterns that drew her (“How did I live?”). In living somewhere new, she has learned to see newness in old places, including the United States, return trips to which produced some of the pictures in her essay. Visually, she is interested in: shadows; people from behind; windows; aloneness. Her writing has been published in Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, Cinema Scope, and Cineaste. See more of her work at estheryi.wordpress.com or on Twitter @yi_esther.

Esther's photo essay "There You Are" appears in issue 19 of Under the Gum Tree, published in April 2016.

Q. How did you decide on the title: “There You Are”? 

A. This is something one says in a moment of discovery after a long search. A purposeful sort of stumbling upon. A collision of expectation and surprise. This characterizes how I feel when I take pictures of people, especially those I know well.

Q. Where or how did you find subjects for this photo essay?

A. Only three of the people featured in the photos are strangers. The rest are close friends or family. I do not have a concrete methodology for finding subjects. I suppose it is helpful for me to be comfortable with the person, and to like him or her very much.

Q. How does being a writer influence your photography, and vice versa?

A. I am not a very descriptive writer. Taking photographs has helped me, in my writing, to stay with a particular image and to interrogate it more than I usually would.

Q. Describe why you are interested in "shadows; people from behind; windows; aloneness," as you mention in your bio.

A. The first two came about for practical reasons. I rarely shoot strangers from the front for fear of annoying them. Meanwhile, the people I know on a personal level tend to stiffen or pose before the camera. So I take pictures of their shadows or backs. There are different kinds of obscurity, and I prefer the one of shadows and backs to the one of manufactured and "aware" posturing. I now shoot shadows and backs more intentionally because I enjoy the challenge of suggesting personality without the help of facial expressions. As for windows: I like that they imply two worlds at once, the inner and the outer. As for aloneness: I like that photography affords me a way of depicting the fact of a subject's separate inner life, while preserving the mystery of this life and admitting my inability to enter it.

Q. You play with perspective and distance. What role do these two mechanisms play in your photo composition when you're taking a photo?

A. I don't make very conscious decisions regarding perspective and distance. What I can say is that I take pleasure in the fact that both proximity to (e.g., the entire head fills the frame) and distance from (e.g., the subject's entire back and the window at which he stands are visible) the subject can produce similar feelings of alienation from the subject, especially when he/she has his back turned to the camera. In short, I enjoy showing just how little I know about the person I am taking a picture of.

Meet the Artist

Meet the Artist: David Pace

David Pace has been teaching photography in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than twenty years. As Resident Director of Santa Clara University’s study abroad program in West Africa from 2009-2013, Pace spent ten weeks each fall in the small country of Burkina Faso, where he has been photographing annually since 2007. He continues to document daily life in the remote village of Bereba and works with the NGO Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL), which builds libraries in rural villages throughout Burkina Faso and Northern Ghana. Pace’s photographs have been exhibited and published internationally.

David's photo essay "Market Day" appears in issue 17 of Under the Gum Tree, published October 2015.

Q. When did you first become interested in photography? 

A. I started taking pictures as a child. I received my first camera as a birthday present when I was eight.  I got seriously interested in photography many years later and began taking photo classes in the 1980s.  I went to graduate school at San Jose State University for an MFA in 1987 and have been working professionally as a photographer ever since.

Q. What do you see as the qualities of a good photograph? 

A. Talking about his films, director Alfred Hitchcock used to say, “Drama is like life with the dull bits left out.” My sense is that a good photograph is similar. It requires a strong subject with the distracting elements left out. A good photograph must have great light and strong composition, and must be taken at exactly the right moment.

Q. It has been said that photography is the language that can be understood by everyone. Do you feel that this is an accurate statement? Why do you agree or disagree? 

A. Photography gives the viewer an immediate experience, which may be richer and more direct than a written or verbal description. But some photographs, especially those involving other cultures, require a bit of background information to be completely understood. For example, most of my subjects do not smile for the camera. Some Western viewers have interpreted this as a sign of unhappiness. However in West African, there’s no expectation that one should smile for a portrait. Smiling for the camera is not a convention in Burkina Faso.

Q. When our readers think of Under the Gum Tree, they likely first associate the magazine with the nonfiction essays we are known for. How do you feel a photo essay fits in with these narrative glimpses into our contributors’ lives? 

A. My photo essay fits quite well into the narrative structure of the nonfiction essays in Under the Gum Tree. I’ve been photographing in Bereba for ten years. My project is to document daily life in the village.  I’m trying to construct a visual narrative that reveals the reality and complexity of life in a typical village without romanticizing or contributing to the many common negative stereotypes of Africa. The market day photos are one chapter of a larger visual narrative.

Q. Everyone has heard the anecdote "a picture is worth a thousand words." In what way do you see truth in this statement and how understand photographs to tell a story?

A. A photograph is full of visual information on many levels – personal, cultural, historical, geographical, psychological, etc. One could spend a lot of time unpacking the many layers of meaning in a single photograph. A series of photographs invites comparisons. Exploring their differences and similarities tells a story.

Q. How do you choose a subject for your photos?

A. I look for people with expressive faces and interesting clothing. Often my subjects approach me and ask to be photographed. I take many more photos than I could ever use. The editing process is extensive.  I select the photographs with the best lighting and compositions.

Q. Do you pose the subject before taking the photograph? Is there a reason one way or the other?

A. I choose the background first and tell my subjects where to stand. But I don’t give them any other instructions. I wait for them to be at ease. My subjects all know me so they’re comfortable being photographed.

Q. At the heart of these photographs are bright colors. How do you feel that this represents the village?

A. People in the village are very creative and intentional about the way they dress. Bright colors and contrasting patterns are very characteristic. To me the color in the photographs emphasizes the vibrancy of the culture. I enjoy the challenge of creating a coherent composition from so many disparate colors and patterns.

Q. All of the photographs use clothes or fabric as a backdrop. Why did you opt for this background over other scenes of the market?

A. For the Market Day series I am drawing on a tradition of West African portraiture that uses complex patterned backdrops. I have been influenced by the work Seydou Keita, a portrait photographer from Mali. All of his work was in black & white. I am adding the element of color, paying homage to him and his style in the context of contemporary Africa.

Q. In what ways do you feel these photographs accurately portray the people and culture you have photographed?

A. These photographs accurately portray my relationship with the people. The villagers of Bereba know me well. They trust me to photograph them the way they want to be seen. I’ve lived in the village long enough to understand the customs and traditions, so I feel that there’s a mutuality of respect. Every photo is a collaboration. We each have a role in the creation of the image. Together we are creating a visual record of the community.  Each year when I return, I give prints to all the people I photographed the year before. They know that they are collaborating in the creation of a portrait that they will receive.

Meet the Artist

Meet the Artist: Kurt Edward Fishback

Kurt Edward Fishback, son of photographer Glen Fishback and namesake of photographer Edward Weston, grew up as part of the photographic community in Northern California during the 1940s and ‘50s. Mentors and friends of the family included Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, and Edward Weston. Despite his immersion in the world of photography, Fishback began his artistic career studying ceramic sculpture at Sacramento City College, the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of California, Davis in the 1960s. He first began to experiment personally with photography in 1962 as a way to document his experiences with other sculptors, but it was not until 1973, when his father invited him to teach at the Glen Fishback School of Photography, that photography became Fishback’s primary medium of expression. You can find out more about Kurt on his website here.

Kurt Fishback's photo essay "Portraits of Women Artists in their Personal Space," published in our July 2015 issue, is a collection of portraits of artists in their studios, their most personal and intimate space. The studio is where artists develop their ideas both conceptually and physically. Photographing artists where they make art can shed light on their influences, desires, and creative processes. The point of his essay has been to share artists with the public, making each artist more accessible and relatable.

Q. When did you get into your art form? A. I was born the son of photographer Glen Fishback and namesake of photographer Edward Weston in 1942 and grew up as part of the photographic community in Northern California during the 1940s and '50s. Mentors and friends of the family included Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, and Edward Weston. My father made advertising photographs for companies like Eastman Kodak, Ansco, Honeywell, Pentax, Rolleiflex and wrote many articles on photograph while operating a portrait and wedding studio in Sacramento.

My first personal work in photography in 1962 began when I asked my dad to be my teacher. I was learning to photograph people in the street and also to document my experiences with other artists. What I learned first was the love of the fine black and white print. It was not until 1973, when my father invited me to teach at his school, the Glen Fishback School of Photography in Sacramento, that photography became my primary medium of expression.

Q. Were there other mediums you tried before? A. Despite my immersion in the world of photography during my childhood, my artistic career began focused on ceramics in the early 1960s. It was difficult in 1961 to find photography in college art departments and ceramics was already well established as a medium everywhere. The ultimate goal was to gain the degrees necessary to teach in higher education as a means of supporting a career in fine art.

It was in the early 1960s I met Robert Arneson, Peter Voulkos, David Gilhooly, Peter Vandenberge and others. The shift in ceramics from pottery to sculpture without a need for utilitarian function was happening fast. I was swept up by this shift at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1964 studying with Jim Melchert and Ron Nagle and became part of the movement coined by Peter Selz as “Funk Art.”

I had been exhibiting ceramic sculpture widely beginning in 1965 and in 1970 after receiving my MFA at the University of California, Davis, began my teaching career at Fayetteville State University, an all-black school in North Carolina. I taught art history and drawing. A year later I was teaching painting, drawing, design and art history at College of the Siskiyous in Weed, California. And, invitations for clay sculpture shows were still coming in. (I also taught a one year sabbatical replacement job at Sacramento City College while a grad student teaching ceramics, drawing and design 1968/69).

Q. Where do you find most your inspiration? A. I am inspired by the ready availability of ideas that flow when I simply get out of my own way and make art without trying to make things happen humanly by overthinking the process of making art. It was made clear to me early on that life is a letting process and not one that works very well when forced to fit into any particular mold.

Q. Whom do you find has influence over your work? A. My obvious influences are to this day my teachers and mentors through the years, those who shared their wisdom with me about making art and also how to be the best me I can be. Living with and growing up surrounded by creative thinkers made it impossible to consider a life without making art. I quip on occasion about those who sit on my shoulder when I make art such as Robert Arneson and my dad. Even my Grandma "B" sits there on occasion. She taught me carpentry and how to sew and embroider.

Q. How long does it usually take you to complete a photo spread? A. One of the ways I was able to gain access to well known artists with very busy schedules was that I work quite fast. I promised that I would not take more than an hour and would not bring lights or cords and work exclusively with existing light. The key is that I know the craft of photography. There is no guess-work involved. And within what I want my final print to look like, each decision as to composition, light quality and direction on my subject and what might need fixing later with predictability simply flows one by one to the best possible result. When I went to New York, for instance, in 1982, I made forty-four portraits of artists in their studios or place of choice in twenty-one days. Film was my medium then and I exposed a total of 600 frames of film for all forty-four without needing to "bracket" exposure. Every frame I exposed was usable. In other words I made about thirteen exposures per sitting with more than half posing the subject in more than one place and I had never seen my subjects' studios in advance. Oh, and another thought on time. Most of my exposures are relatively long at 1/2 to 1 second in length.

Q. What do you enjoy most about art and its creative process? A. Making art simply allows me to be in contact with my higher self and all the unseen sources of wisdom that most people are just not aware exist. Through the art-making process I not only produce finished objects to share, I also work through other problems in my life and find comfort and a sense of peace that might not be possible to experience otherwise. Over the past four months I even built a Navajo-style loom and wove a 30" x 40" blanket as a meditation practice. And, when something I have made inspires someone else, that makes me the most happy.

What is the hardest part of doing what you do? A. This is an interesting question. Usually I eschew any negative references to what I do but a thought does occur that might bare sharing.

I have been doing what I do for so long that the solution to making a good portrait and an equally fine print comes both quickly and easily for me. This does not mean that the process is in fact "easy." Also, post-production time in Photoshop preparing the files for printing with an exact thought for how those image files will print takes time and effort just as it did in the darkroom before I shifted to digital. All too often photography is taken for granted in this world of iPhones, Facebook, and Instagram. What I make takes time and an ongoing consideration of details and minute elements that most people have learned to ignore and not be aware of. It is often not what is included in each image as much as what is left out that makes it successful. And, that takes years to train the photographer's/artist's response, step by step. And astute viewers will feel the difference all of the attention I pay to my final result makes even though they don't know what it took to get there. All too often today, people are in too much of a hurry to take the time to allow themselves to both sense this difference or frankly even care. That does frustrate me at times. What good photography costs is another factor that lacks public understanding as well.

Q. Do you work from home or a studio space? A. My studio has always been in my home. When I did more commercial work much of what I made for clients was on location and did not require a large studio space. The art that I make doesn't require much space either. Now that I have made the conversion to digital photography almost completely all I need space for is my computer, scanner and professional printer. I still love making my own prints and when a larger size is necessary work with a trusted lab near home. The portraits I make are still on location and in someone's else's space. Working with existing light also makes things easier.

Q. Do you have a favorite photographer? A. I have known and know too many photographers to have one favorite. Each one has their own special message and set of abilities and ways of seeing. If I were to mention two photographers who influenced my work the most they would be Arnold Newman and Yousuf Karsh. Both were portrait photographers but their styles were very different. Since I work with existing light good "street photographers" are my biggest inspiration as they also must make their art with what exists at the time and place their image is captured.

Q. Do you have a set schedule for when you work? A. Commissioned personal portraits by clients are scheduled when they present themselves and when the funds will allow I continue to make portraits of artists. Occasionally a grant stimulates a new series of portraits such as the Leff-Davis Fund for Visual Artists which I received in October of 2014. Thirty new portraits of women artists were partially funded by that leading to two exhibitions, one at Archival Gallery in Sacramento, and the other which just came down at Transmission Gallery in Oakland. At present I am seeking further funding to continue making portraits of women artists.

Q. Are you featured in any galleries or anywhere? A. At present I don't have any work hanging in any galleries. The long-term goal however is for an exhibition of 100 portraits of women artists that will flow from support I am seeking at present.

Q. Is there anything else you want to tell us that hasn’t already been touched upon? A. I would like to add that I am grateful for opportunities like this to share my experience and what I know and feel. The portfolio of portraits of women artists that was published in Under The Gum Tree honored my photography and also the women I photographed. The primary purpose for these portraits and the project is to share women artists with the public gaining them visibility and presence in the world of fine art they might not otherwise have. My hope is that in some small way what I am doing will make a difference in someone else's life other than mine.

Meet the Artist

Meet the Author: Susannah Clark

Dsq8ULG1V1Emz2Whd0Rd2qtJuZSWJlKut4yI13kYZ34Susannah Clark received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Emerson College in Boston, where she also taught creative writing and freshman composition. Her work has appeared in publications such as Inside Higher Ed, Extract(s), Rock & Sling and others. She recently won Flyway journal’s Notes on a Field contest in nonfiction, for her personal essay about working as a barista during the Boston Marathon Bombings. She lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Susannah's piece is a bittersweet reflection on adolescence and the confounding experiences that shape our teenage selves. An encounter with the 2002 horror film, Signs, serves as both a love letter to youth compounded by the treacherousness of becoming an adult.

Q. The story seems to be a coming-of-age piece but also a loving requiem for youth and its fleeting nature. Youth is an incredibly unique experience because we all must endure it, and we seem to detest being young in the moment. But when we look back, we miss our years of freedom and mistake-making with impunity. Why do you think youth is so painful at the time, but we look back on it fondly? Or do you still see youth as a painful period in your life? A. I think there's a distinction between being nostalgic for something and looking back on it fondly. While growing older has put much of my adolescent struggles in perspective, I don't think of my emotional reactions, however melodramatic, as invalid. I'm less nostalgic for the events themselves, and more so for the capacity to feel anything so strongly at all.

Q. Is there beauty in growing up slowly?  A. There is, but it might be superficial. How you cope with the harsh realities of adulthood carries more significance than how long it took you to realize them.

Q. After watching Signs for the second time, did you remember the whole experience in a different light? Or did your memory of that night remain unchanged?  A. I would say the act of writing the essay influenced my perception of that evening more so than just watching the film again. The substance of memory didn't change, it just became more meaningful. As the essay indicates, I did watch Signs one lonely night in my twenties, but in order to write piece I had to re-watch certain scenes over and over as I reconstructed my teenage viewing and my most recent viewing. You'd be surprised at how much vividness can accumulate when you pause to conjure a single moment, either in the distant or recent past.

Q. How did your own biases and opinions change the tone of the story, in terms of how you described the characters and events?  A. I'm certain that this story would be remembered completely differently from the perspective of anyone else who attended the movie with me ten years ago--it likely wouldn't seem like a night worth writing about at all. It's impossible for me to determine how much of my memory is photographed and how much of it is painted. I wrote the only version I had.

Q. When you say, “the past feels cheap,” do you mean it feels less important, less romantic, or less beautiful in some way? Why does our perception of the past, and our own lives, become so distorted over time?  A. By "cheap" I meant that it was too easy to channel, that we use much less energy to remember than we used to. The importance, romance, and beauty we assign to memories doesn't necessarily disappear or decrease. We just get bored with it. If we had less exposure to those photos and songs and films--if we had to dig them out of box in the basement rather than swiping right or clicking on a link--we might appreciate the memories more.

Q. Why did you choose to stop watching the movie? Did you find it too painful a reminder of that night, or did it change your perception of your youth in a way you never wanted it to? Do you wish you hadn’t dredged up this memory? A. I stopped watching the film because the film stopped streaming--the illegal downloading service I used cut it off and asked me to pay for a subscription. Obviously I could have searched for another site and finished the last ten minutes elsewhere, but the irony was too tempting. Whether or not it was a sign from an outside force, I decided to take it as one. I don't regret re-evaluating this memory because it led to a few revelations, some of which I thought were worth writing about.

Q. Is there anything else you want to add about this piece?  A. I still have not seen the end of Signs, and do not intend to.

 

Meet the Artist

Meet the Artist: Gale Hart

A childhood fascination with creating objects out of nuts, bolts, scrap metal, and wood evolved into an intensely energetic creative drive. From monumental canvases to metal sculpture, Sacramento-based artist Gale Hart's repertoire of visual images grabs, engages, and speaks volumes about universal humanity.

A Narration characterized by humor, angst, and sarcasm presents itself through a constantly evolving cast of characters, Hart's sculptures parallel her paintings, with the visual language remaining constant, her narrative composition, ordered geometry, and color choices. Regarding her recent series of gun sculptures, Hart states:

I think the idea that weapons are needed to keep the peace is a disturbing concept. I wanted to explore this controversial topic in depth, so I decided to take a shot at participating in the gun culture while trying to remain receptive and detached. I began by attending a gun show and later arranged an opportunity to shoot a variety of firearms. Having a weapon in my hand I finally got what "gun control" really is. I marveled at the seemingly "automatic" power I had while being armed and how easily I could have controlled the fate of another. I had to keep the peace, I felt I also held the potential so simultaneously destroy it. The gun show I attended was a place where touching, holding, and caressing is encouraged. This was where I witnessed gun lust first hand. My conclusion, there are no machines in the world that are so varied, so beautifully sculpted, and yet equally so disturbing as firearms.

Here follows Gale's interview and her most recent series of gun sculptures that we've featured throughout our issue. If you want to know more about Gale, her creative processes, and her work, you can visit her website here.

Q: When did you get into your art form? A: I have spent my career testing out every possible medium and materials I could. I have been doing the gun sculptures for about a year and a half.

Q: Were there other mediums you tried before?A: Everything from sewing to bending, grinding, and welding steel. Painting and drawing included. The only thing I have not done is work in glass. But I do have an idea that would require cast glass so ya never know.

Q: Where do you find most your inspiration? A: Hypocrisy, corruption, bad communication, unfairness, politics, and animal abuse.

Q: Whom do you find has influence over your work? A: I really don't have particular artist but more art movements that influence me. Like street art or industrial design etc. I can see a piece of vintage furniture and that can get the wheels turning. I also like art that is painstakingly done. Laurie Lipton comes to mind.

Q: How long does it usually take you to complete a piece? A: The smaller gun sculptures take about a full work week. It all varies.

Q: What do you enjoy most about art and its creative process?  A: Thinking about how to make something work. I like spending time in my head creating.

Q: What is the hardest part of doing what you do?  A: Lifting and grinding steel.

Q: Do you work from home or a studio space?  A: A studio with lots of tools.

Q: Do you have a favorite artist for any reason?  A: Elisabeth Higgins O'Connor. Elisabeth can do amazing sculptures out of fabric that just blow my mind. She creates details that make blobs of fabric come to life and are reminiscent of vintage cartoon characters. Jeff Christensen. Jeff is an oil painter who has a surrealist style who really gets to the point with his narratives on politics and other atrocities. Liza Lou and her insane bead work really intrigues me. I like Retna too. I could go on and on, there are so many artist that I like and it changes all the time who I really like.

Q: Do you have a set schedule for when you work?  A: I work my ass off night and day for months at a stretch then take a month off from exhaustion.

Meet the Artist

Meet the Artist: Larry Blackwood

Larry Blackwood is a self-taught fine art photographer with over forty years of experience. Born and raised in Kansas, he has lived in Montana for thirty-two years. He earned a PhD on statistics and worked in the field for thirty years while pursuing photography part time. In 2007 he switched to photography full time. Larry has had major solo exhibitions in a number of venues, including Wichita Art Museum, Center for Contemporary Arts, Museum of Idaho, Hockaday Museum of Art, Art Museum of Southeast Idaho, Viewpoint Photogrpahic Art Center, Holter Museum of Art, and Emerson Center for Art and Culture.

His work his been published in major fine art photography publications including Lenswork, B&W, Shots, Color, and Best of Photography Annual. Awards in international photography competitions include the World Photography Awards and the B&W Spider Awards. He has also received grays sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the states of Montana and Idaho.

This summer you can find Larry's work at six different outdoor art festivals in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and California. As the dates get closer, more information and updates for these showings will be available at Larry's website, where you can also see more of his work.

Q: When did you get into your art form? A: As a young teenager in the sixties, like a lot of other kids my age, I was big into following the space program. I was fascinated by the whole thing, in particular the photos taken from space. Eventually, I started building model rockets that actually shot several hundred feet up. When they came out with a model that had a camera, I bought one. It used small circular pieces of black-and-white film (about 2” in diameter). Developing the film and getting prints of the images required special processing that I could not really afford, so my father showed me how to use his old darkroom equipment to produce contact prints. Later I bought an old enlarger to make bigger prints. At some point, on a trip to the camera store to buy developer and paper, I discovered some Edward Weston prints hanging on the wall. In particular I remember his famous nautilus shell photo. That was pretty inspiring, and since I was having so much fun in the darkroom, I borrowed my dad’s camera and went out taking photos of just about anything that looked interesting to me. I don’t know if I thought it was art at the time, but it was challenging and fun. Within a couple of years I took an abstract photo that I still like a lot today that was published in a Kodak-sponsored photography contest in the local newspaper. That pretty much validated photography as an art form for me.

Q: Were there other mediums you tried before?  A: I did some wood carving for a number of years, and while I enjoyed it, it never really became an avocation the way photography has.

Q: Where do you find most your inspiration? A: My general interests and my photographic interests as well are very eclectic, so the inspiration for my work is I suppose equally eclectic and drawn from everything else that I do. I pursue subjects varying from street photography to abstracts, landscapes, nature, and architecture. Visiting art museums is one of my favorite ways to stimulate my photographic interests. I find that viewing fine art, no matter what the medium or subject matter, is very effective in stimulating the creative parts of my brain.

Q: Whom do you find has influence over your work?  A: There is no singular person I could say has a huge influence over my work. Works by early pictorialist and modernist photographers such as Stieglitz, Steichen, Weston, and Strand shaped my approach to photography more than anything I suppose.

Q: How long does it usually take you to complete a piece? A: I work with digital photographic tools which people often assume to be a pretty simple process. But it can be really demanding and tedious at times. And of course the process also involves acquiring a good image to work with in the first place. I spend hours sometimes wandering around with a camera without getting any workable photographs. Other times interesting results occur on the spur of the moment. On the processing end of the effort, some images require very little work in the digital darkroom. Other images however take hours to perfect to my satisfaction. Recently I worked on a particular image off and on for several weeks and consulted a printing expert in regard to colors etc. before I was able to get a reasonable starting print. Even then I printed and tweaked the image 20 more times before finally getting it just the way I wanted.

Q: What do you enjoy most about art and its creative process? A: As an art form, photography gives me a way to express a side of myself that has no other outlet. It also at times provides a surprising portal to a connection with the world outside myself that seems beyond the usual. I think it is chasing and occasionally acquiring that elusive feeling that is the most enjoyable reward.

Q: What is the hardest part of doing what you do? A: I think emotionally the hardest part of doing any artistic work is overcoming the fear of inadequacy to the task. It takes a certain amount of confidence, of ego and perhaps at times even a bit of hubris to think that one has something worthwhile to contribute to the art world. Comparing my work to that of other artists can certainly be sobering but the real issue is internal; can I meet the standards of performance and progress I set for myself? On the worst days those thoughts can be debilitating and counterproductive. But in general the desire to meet those self-imposed standards is a strong incentive to keep plugging away in spite of whatever discouraging results present themselves.

Q: Do you work from home or a studio space? A: I’ve always worked from a studio at home. We recently built a new home in which more space than I deserve has been given over to my photography work.

Q: Do you have a favorite artist for any reason? A: I do not have a favorite artist I can identify. I think my interests are too eclectic for that!

Q: Do you have a set schedule for when you work? A: I do not work on a set schedule. Since taking early retirement from a scientific job eight years ago I have the luxury of working on my photography about any time I wish to, which usually amounts to 40 or 50 hours a week.