Below are several categories with short explanations and stories as to why I’m drawn to them, not only photographically but personally. Please click on the title to take a look at the most recent galleries in that particular genre.
Ever since I was a very young child, seven years old perhaps, I have been enchanted by dilapidated places of decay, deterioration, and abandonment. In general perhaps, it was the excitement that came from being in places that I felt I shouldn’t be in, or didn’t belong. There was an entire block around the corner from where I grew up that was like this. The one corner was an old doctor’s office, we called it Dople’s, I believe it was the doctor’s last name. Then there was a series of buildings that I believe were originally part of the Dietz Coal and Ice Company, whose main office was on the other corner. These buildings became the playground of my youth.
This fascination started in a little shack under the tracks, I set up a little laboratory, which was quickly destroyed by some other explores. The silos, tracks, out buildings, all became my jungle gym. I look back and am amazed that I would literally climb up the drain pipes two and three stories to get to a window, or wedge myself between two silos and climb to the top and climb down the inside the shoots that transported coal to the trucks that would pull underneath to load up for delivery. Exploring things that seemed still in tack, as well as frozen in time. Like they had just been left there waiting for some explorer to come along and discover it, and try to figure out what and how things were used and worked.
I could never put a name to it, this fascination of exploring never left me. I’m now in my 50’s and still love to visit places like this. It has been a life time of exploring, searching, discovering, probing and realizing that what this fascination is has a name, It’s called URBAN EXPLORATION. My only regret, I didn’t document it photographically my entire life.
My real outdoor experiences never really started till I was about seven years old. My mother remarried and my step father had three children from a previous marriage, and I have a younger sister, which made a total of five. Five children between the ages of six and eighteen, all of whom after the nuptials attended the honeymoon at Wildwood State Park for a two week camping trip.
I don’t really remember going to anything as distant, or removed from the city, or being surrounded by nature before that. What I do remember – is falling in love with the north shore of Long Island, NY, gathering stones from the Long Island Sound and being amazed by the glistening colors because they were wet, or seeing starfish that were washed up on shore or horseshoe crabs. I loved walking in the woods for what seemed like the entire day, and not knowing if we really knew where we were going or not. We would pick wild blueberries, even though I didn’t like blueberries, and enjoying the fact that this act or foraging had it’s origins in a connection not only too nature but to our primitive ancestry.
I remember going to a waterfall with an overnight camp there we would go to every summer and run under the water and climbing the rocks to the top just to see how it looked from above. Or finding brightly colored fall leaves and collecting them, or pine-cones, horseshoe crabs, shells, seeing the sun peek through the clouds after a storm, or the perfect arch and colors of a rainbow, all these things resonate in my memory as I think about why I am drawn to natural surroundings and environment.
There is a beauty and order to all things natural. There is a collective consciousness to these things. Deep down there is a primal connection there, that I am connected to them, that they are a part of me, and I them. It is easy to look around, even in the smallest patch of a natural element and find beauty. It is because we are a part of it, and not above it. We are subject to it and not master over it.
I’m not sure why I have had this deep seated desire to connect with people, to help those not only less fortunate than me, but those I am connected to. We need to support, comfort and serve those we come into contact with, to make their day a little brighter, happier, to leave them, feeling a little better off for the encounter. It’s in this way that we can certainly keep one mindful that things can always be worse. It helps one to look at the full half of the glass of water.
I have been fortunate enough to be invited to attend two service trips. The first one was El Salvador, in 2012, in which we worked two construction sites, moving sand and sifting it through a screen, and moving cinder blocks from point A to point B. Oh, and I can’t forget digging the cesspool that needed to be 20 some odd feet deep, filling a bucket and hoisting it up on a pulley. One site was building a home for a local family and the other was to be a clinic, I never hurt so good! We also got to visit an orphanage and see the landscape, and meet local people.
Back in November 2013, I was once again invited to participate in another service trip. It’s an honor and great opportunity to work, help, serve and live in the present moment and know that no matter how things are, all are called to help and share our lives, as we are all a part of this ecosystem that we call humanity. So when I was invited to participate again I didn’t hesitate, I will be going to Haiti in June.
From my earliest memories as a child I remember going to the museums of New York City, The Museum of Natural history, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Children’s Museum, and so many more. These experiences instilled a predisposition toward art, creativity, science and nature. My uncle had given me his old microscope that came in its wooden case and had little draws for all the slides and storage for the accessories that were required to practice the discipline. It was here that I found myself looking deeper into the natural world for hidden beauty. These are the things that have directed me to look closer, deeper, and beyond the surface. It is here that I learned the value of the creative, to look deeper at all things natural or a piece of art to try to see what the artist was feeling, sharing and trying to share with generations to come.
So these galleries are just that, deeper, more profound and exploratory expressions of things. Preserving the inner creative that sees what could be, rather than just the obvious.