I can’t remember the first crack I photographed. But I remember the huge crack in the plaster on the outside of my apartment building in San Rafael after college. I had been particularly inspired by a planetary geology course, and I had the idea to photograph the crack in the same way that satellites over the moon photographed the lunar surface, and make a mosaic of it. This became something I did.
When I was 16, a group of friends and I took a summer road trip to Alaska. We piled into an RV and we drove from Salt Lake City, through British Columbia and the Yukon, and into the largest state in the union.
Eventually we found ourselves camping in Mt McKinley National Park (as it was called back then). We were excited to see the largest mountain in the continent, sitting at 20,300 feet. They say that it’s so foggy in the park that the mountain is only visible a few days a week, but ten teenaged boys were going to be patient. As soon as we were set up, the fog seemed to clear and we found ourselves staring at a stunning mountain range across the basin. Idiots that we were, we each were eye-balling the range and pointing out which peak we were certain was Denali, “the great one.” It was sorta hard to tell, but I had convinced myself, after looking at some pictures in a book, that I could identify it. Denali has two peaks, the south peak is slightly higher than the north peak, so there was reason to argue. Over the next days, various peaks seemed to win our affection — was it THAT one? no, it’s THAT one. …
This is me: I have been a photographer for more than 40 years, a writer for fewer, a long time resident of the Bay Area, but moments away from a big move to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
When I was a kid, I was a young protégé of Jerry Uelsmann; his surreal images were everywhere around me. I’ve never been a professional photographer; I’d say I’m a professional amateur — and spend my time evangelizing photographic exploration for consumers. Some of my work these days involves managing a large photographic collection of classical works of midcentury modernism.