Most of the photographs you'll see here exist only because I have carried a camera with me, rain or shine, night or day since the age of 14 -- well, certainly since the age of 15. The great Hungarian photographer Andre Kertesz said he could no more leave the house without his camera than without his pants, and I know exactly what he meant.
I'm a photographer because I can't help it. People often ask me what I photograph. It's like asking me what I look at. While I don't photograph everything I see, I'm likely to photograph anything I see. I think people are my favorite subject, which is why I love doing candid portraits, weddings, and street photography, but I also remain enamored of the found scene.
My favorite photographers are, of course, Andre Kertesz who began carrying a camera with him as a young man and photographed what's come to be called the found scene; and Henri Cartier-Bresson, from France, perhaps the greatest of all photographers, who is to me like Mozart with a camera. His work seems at first like simple snapshots until an effort is made to emulate him, and then his genius as an artist becomes apparent. I did not set out to imitate their work because I remained ignorant of their existence until at least ten years after I had myself been a photographer, a label with which I'm not completely at ease. I think of myself, rather, as one whose childish sense of wonder has never faded, an artist for whom drawing, another of my passions, is just not fast enough.
To answer a question I'm often asked: No, I have never had my own darkroom or, for that matter, a studio, and although I am still entranced by the magical appearance of the image on a print in the developing tray, I was never satisfied with my own prints, preferring instead to have them done by professionals whose skills exceeded my own. Now that Photoshop has changed the world, allowing me to make the prints I used to only imagine, I prefer to have most of my prints made by professionals who meet my standards because it leaves me free to do the part I like best, making the photographs. Cartier-Bresson had all of his processing and printing done by a lab in Paris, so I figure I'm in good company.
My favorite way to work, whether it be individual and family portraits or weddings is to do what I do best, photograph people being themselves. In my photographs, which have become treasured possessions and family heirlooms in homes across the country, people see not a memento of the day they dressed up to have their photograph taken, but how awesome they are in their daily lives.
Many people, and certainly other photographers, are interested in what equipment I use. The short answer is I use whatever I have with me at the time. I've owned and used a Rolleiflex, Leica M3 and M6, even a Leica Model A made in 1929, Nikon F, Nikon N8008, Kowa Six, Olympus 35RD, Polaroid 95, Canon 20D and 5D, and lately a Fujifilm X100. Cameras are tools, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.
As cameras have advanced since the time I've been interested in photography, they have added features which relieve the photographer of the burden of taking a light reading with a lightmeter, some of which are larger than entire cameras are now, then transferring that reading to the camera -- setting the lens opening and shutter speed -- and focusing.
Even so, the words of Kertesz ring true today: The best ones get away.
No matter what camera you have, Murphy's Law still applies. One day, perhaps after The Singularity written about by Dr. Raymond Kurzweil, we'll all be able to record everything we see and experience and then, at our leisure, select from this record and produce works beyond the imagining of the greatest photographers. But for now, we must carry our imaging devices with us, remember to turn them on, remember to set them properly, and have them as nearly ready to hoist to our eye and capture that once-in-a-lifetime image. It's small wonder that most photographers have a prodigious tool chest since no one tool ever seems to be able to do all the jobs with which one is confronted. You can't tighten a screw with a hammer or pound a nail with screwdriver. Once thing, however, is certain: the camera you have with you will make a better image than the one you left at home because it was too big and heavy to carry around all the time.
Well, thanks for reading this far. Now, if you find yourself featured in an image from my travels or my street photography, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you a free print in exchange for your permission to continue to post it. And, of course, if you do not wish an image of yourself to be on display, please understand that it is not my intention to be the agent of anyone's distress. I will gladly remove an image of you from my website.