From the Workshop

From the Workshop explores the creative impulse and the power of artistic expression no matter what the form. It honors the craftsmanship of my father and explores his artistic journey.

My father was a mechanical engineer by profession, but woodworking was his passion. He was most content in his workshop (a.k.a. the garage of our family home), surrounded by his tools and piles of assorted soft- and hardwoods. Each new project was an invitation to explore design styles, materials, and woodworking techniques to create something that was uniquely his own.

The furniture he made filled the home I grew up in — and now my home and the homes of my brother and sister. Dad’s woodwork has always been a point of pride for us, but we didn’t fully comprehend the depth of his commitment until recently. That’s when we discovered, buried deep inside a storage locker, the meticulous notes, sketches, detailed plans, and even bills and receipts that he kept for each of his creations. And there were boxes and boxes of the tools to build them, so many tools. The discovery enriched our appreciation of his desire not only to make things, but also to be creative and artful in what he built.

These resources have enabled me to carry forward his artistic journey. In this series I employ a range of image-making styles and techniques to make his work uniquely my own. In addition to straight prints, I create grids and collages to evoke his work process, sophisticated woodworking techniques, creative detail, and devotion to his work. With 3-dimensional constructions, I make both my photography and his work tangible. The resulting images and constructions celebrate the passion of a craftsman.

This series honors the artistic impulse. Whether the label is craft, folk art, or fine art, the urge to create is a powerful, universal emotion. 

Self Portraits with Stenosis

Living with a debilitating condition that is largely invisible to others is the subject of these self-portraits.

I’m not that old. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself. But my body would beg to differ. What began as soreness and stiffness in my legs progressed to more intractable pain, stiffness, shocks, and numbness. Getting to “why” involved understanding a fundamental disconnect between cause and effect: the problem is in my back, not my legs.

The diagnosis: Severe spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease. The effect: Narrowing of the spinal canal, which constricts the nerves leading to the lower body, causing pain, stiffness, and loss of sensation. The treatment: Lumbar laminectomy and thoracic fusion — so far. The prognosis: Who knows?

In this series, I go beyond the straight print to describe the physical and emotional effects of my condition. Interventions with the flat print, grids, collages, 3-dimensional constructions provide metaphors for my condition. Performances in front of the camera make visible feeling and sensations that are otherwise hidden from view.

I began this series assuming that I was documenting an episode. I now realize that it’s a new reality, shared by many. At some point we all must when we must question basic assumptions about health, personal mobility, and what lies ahead.  

Modern Relics

Modern Relics is a nostalgic look at how quickly modern becomes vintage. These pinhole photographs remember products that not so long ago were the epitome of the new in form and function. The images celebrate the iconic designs while allowing the outdated details to fade away. 

 My process bridges the new and old. I use a digital camera body, but a body cap with a tiny pinhole drilled in the center replaces the lens. The combination reminds us that while technology is ever-changing, the opportunity for reinvention is ever-present. 

Eyewitness News

Eyewitness News is part of an ongoing series that celebrates the daily newspaper while lamenting its marginalization and fearing for its future.

As a one-time newspaper reporter, I still value the ritual of finding a curated collection of news, prepared by trained professional journalists, on my doorstep each morning. The daily rhythm of a newspaper provides time for at least a moment’s reflection on breaking news. The format provides readers a means of judging the relative importance of individual articles, while also offering the serendipity of exposure to ideas outside their own narrow interests. And the layout offers the opportunity to mix text, images, and graphics in ways that can even be artful.

Today, more than ever, we need the newspaper’s watchful eye. 

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