Writer Eudora Welty once wrote that "A good snapshot stops a moment from running away." The following are my snapshots—great moments presented here to keep them from fleeing.
I am grateful for all the teachers who came into my life and helped me along the way. This is a picture of my high school art/photo teacher Norm Stewart—one of the best. I’m the guy in the middle in the checked shirt staring in wonder at a print as it is pulled from the tray. To this day that sense of amazement has never ceased . . .
I attended Lahser High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
It was an honor to share the stage with actor Ernest Borgnine, writer/poet Jeanetta Calhoun Mish and actor/stuntman Dean Smith when I received the Wrangler Outstanding Photography Book Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The award was for my book Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby.
When a book is being printed, particularly overseas, the printer sends back a set of F&G's (folded and gathered) pages of the book before the entire volume is actually printed. These are actual ink-on-paper proofs that provide a pretty good idea of what the final book will look like. These F&G's are for my book Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait.
I met Cindy Lane at Kinko's twenty-seven years ago and we have been working together ever since. This image was created from a video frame of a New Mexico PBS Emmy award-winning television piece about my work titled En Divina Luz, which aired in 1990. It is a fond remembrance of an incredible day working together years ago.
"Effective teaching is more than the collecting and sharing of facts, figures, and techniques. It is an ongoing, dynamic dialogue between student and teacher, a collaborative exchange of ideas. My goal as a teacher is to help students discover a more thoughtful way to create and to find their own unique and authentic voices."
This photograph was made during a workshop I was teaching for the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls. I was in Montana for the presentation of my exhibition Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby.
The exact day that inspired my passion for photography is as clear as the glacial waters of Lake Louise in my native Canada. I was seven years old and in awe of the majestic landscape around me. My mom encouraged me to peer into the viewfinder of the family’s Kodak Duaflex camera for the first time and press the shutter. In that instant, I discovered the wonder of capturing a moment in time.
This picture, made by my Dad a few years later, is the earliest photograph of me with a camera. I love that original Diana camera, which I remember being quite proud of at the time. Note the rabbit's foot tied to a toggle on my duffle coat—even then I knew that luck would play an important role in the making of good photographs.
Gina and Kim Weston, Wildcat Hill, California. Kim is the grandson of Edward Weston, the son of Cole Weston and the nephew of Brett Weston, all photographers. This snap was made during an Eloquent Light Photography Workshop visit.
I am honored that students from all over the world come to study with me at Eloquent Light Photography Workshops. I spent several days working with photographer Shiro Tanaka from Japan making images. Shiro uses many cameras including the Linhof 4x5" view camera seen in this picture.
They say that behind every man is a great woman and my life is no exception. I remember the first day I met Kathy at the cooperative housing we both shared at the University of Michigan. She was painting the walls of her room, and seeing her illuminated in the afternoon light streaming through the window simply took my breath away. After many years together, her love and patience with me and my work remain an incredible gift.
Despite the initial destructive use of nuclear power, the world has benefited from the developments that sprang from subsequent research. Medical procedures save lives, and scientists use a variety of methods to gain a deeper insight into our world.
The Trinity Site on the White Sands Missile Range is an important, and solemn, part of this history. It was on this site on July 16th, 1945, that the atomic age began.
Though the site is usually closed, it is open to the public in April and October each year. Whether one just wants to learn more about the history of this place, or reflect on the importance of what happened here, it can be a powerful experience. My assistant Tye Hardison photographed me making pictures of the obelisk at the site for my book Into the Great White Sands.
There is something magical about making pictures by the golden light of a New Mexico sunset. I had the good fortune that day, to be photographing the Penitente morada (a kind of chapel) and graveyard on its rocky outcropping at El Rancho de las Golondrinas. The image below, an aide–mémoire of that beautiful moment, was made with a DJI drone by my steadfast assistant Tye Hardison.
It was a pleasure to speak about the acquisition of my Ghost Ranch photographs by the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History with the members of the museum’s Patron Circle. I decided to open my talk with something fun. When I began, I walked out into the middle of the stage, pulled out my iPhone and asked everyone in the audience to wave and smile. It was a terrific group and as you can see, a good evening was had by all.
My friend Gene Bullock-Wilson passed away on the last day of 2015. He was married to Barbara, also my friend, who is the daughter of photographer Wynn Bullock. I always loved the light I saw in Gene and the thoughtful way he saw the world. I know I will miss him. This photograph was prompted by a story that Gene kindly shared during a photography workshop I was teaching . . .
Some years ago, Barbara had asked her Dad for a print of his photograph "Child in Forest" (an image made when Barbara was a small child) as a gift for Gene. Sometime later Wynn saw the photograph hanging in the couple’s home and asked to purchase it as he felt it was the best print he had ever made of this image. As Gene tells the story, even after significant amounts of money were offered in an attempt to acquire the print back, Gene held fast and respectfully refused to sell.
I made this picture the last time I saw Gene, as he and Barbara held that wonderful expression of Wynn Bullock’s genius.
Every year we host students from the Colorado Springs School at our studio. Under the guidance of Ms. Vicki Vaughn, the students from the school’s Southwest Photography Seminar are regaled with my stories from behind the lens as part of their week long photography adventure in New Mexico. As one student commented,
I would just want to sincerely thank you for meeting with my seminar group. When I saw your name on the trip’s itinerary, I thought that we were going to view your work in a museum, but actually meet you in person, at your studio!!! It was like a dream come true . . .
It is always a treat to speak with host Mary-Charlotte on her radio program, Santa Fe Radio Cafe. You can listen to the interview about my book Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait here.
It has been a great pleasure to work with the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and textile designer Lee Coren on the creation of these beautiful handbags for the museum. They present reproductions of my photographs of the places that inspired O'Keeffe's incredible work. The bags are currently available on the Museum's web site here
I came to know Marin Sardy through her writings in the Santa Fean Magazine and reached out to her after I read this piece about my book Four & Twenty Photographs: Stories from Behind the Lens. I am pleased to have had an opportunity to work with her a few years later, when she contributed her thoughtful essay to my book Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby.
It has been an honor to collaborate with Starline Printing Company in Albuquerque on this 2017 wall calendar.