I began this project as a search in which I did not know what I was looking for. The terror of September 11 had left its indelible mark on our national psyche and there seemed to be some confusion as to how to move forward. I felt greatly unsettled and was interested in photographing what it looked and felt like to be in this place, at this time.
As a response to the preoccupation by the media with those at the extremes of the social order, I was most interested in photographing those people who are in stuck in the middle. The people with the most to lose and least to fall back on, the hard working people whose behind the scenes efforts are integral to this daily theater we call life.
I decided to keep my photographic wandering within a part of the world that I knew intimately. Throughout my journey, I found faces, and wondered what each face had seen throughout its life, and how it had been transformed by the experiences and emotions of the person behind it. The faces I saw made me imagine the stories that each could tell.
Despite the difficulties of the past ten years, or maybe because of them, it seemed that there was ample evidence that people were still expressing The American Dream through the things they did in public. Working; playing; raising a family; being with friends; showing allegiances; living the ordinary life of an average American. For the people I've photographed, life has not gotten any easier in the past ten years, and I suspect that the next ten will bring little relief. Yet, I get a sense that there is still hope for the future, but it is tempered with the fear that our best days may be behind us. Moving forward, the true test will be to see if the winner of this national struggle will be the brightness of hope, or the darkness of fear.
I hope these photographs do more than just show what I saw, but give you a sense of how I feel about what I see, and what it is to be an American in the twenty-first century.
When I photograph, it is a journey of discovery. I take my inspiration from what I see and how I feel about the world and the people around me. I find faces, which lead me to questions. I wonder what each face had seen throughout its life, and how it had been transformed by the experiences and emotions of the person behind it. I hope my photographs do more than just show what was in front of me, but that they give you a sense as what it is to be an American in the twenty-first century.
For all of my personal work, I prefer to shoot with 120 film and a basic camera that yields a square image. I prefer the simplicity of the square, finding it's equality on all sides to be well suited to how I see the world. I prefer color, as that is how the world occurs to me. My post production entails scanning the negative and preparing the file to be printed or displayed on-line. I prefer to use the scanner as I would a darkroom, simply, eschewing heroic feats in photoshop.
Since 1979 I have made my living as a photographer. Initially I worked at Tiffany & Co. photographing merchandise for catalogs and advertisements. I left to freelance as an assistant and to do my own shooting for magazines. Between 1983 and 1986 I worked as a newspaper staff photographer, and since then freelancing again for corporate and editorial clients.
I am currently the staff photographer at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. I also continue to work for a variety of clients on a freelance basis shooting products, architecture, interiors, portraits, and all types of events.
Throughout my career, I have managed to balance by professional responsibilities to my clients by always being engaged in work that explored by interests and allowed for full personal expression of how I felt about those interests, needing only to satisfy myself in the process.
I was born on Staten Island in New York City. My affinity for the gritty urban industrialized streetscape was cultivated while being raised in Kearny, NJ. Photography discovered me in high school and gave me a means of expressing how I saw the world. After surviving 12 years of Catholic school, I studied photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Despite years of making a living as a commercial photographer, I continue to pick up a camera and make images purely for my own pleasure.
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