I began photographing in the mid seventies. The Monterey Peninsula has a vibrant photographic tradition (think Ansel Adams and Edward Weston), and has attracted many photographers to its stunning landscapes and shorelines. Surrounded by this kind of community, I became obsessed with photography. I spent every spare moment with my camera or locked away in the darkroom. Those first few years were amazing; each new print seemed to be getting better, and my understanding of the medium was expanding. Then one day nothing seemed to be working. I could not make a photograph that satisfied me. The harder I tried, the worse it got; I started to panic.
It’s been over 30 years since that first creative block. I’ve learned that during these lulls, if I focus my energy in other directions, such as the practical business side of photography—getting my work out there—that inspiration will eventually return. The first 15 years of my photographic career were spent photographing landscapes, still lifes, nudes and abstractions in the West Coast style of large format straight photography. In 1990 I was introduced to platinum printing, and spent the next two years obsessively producing 4 x 5 platinum prints until I hit another creative block. When I had regrouped, I came back to the camera with a new idea: it became the body of work I call Ice Forms. The work involves freezing botanicals in blocks of ice and photographing them. My inspiration for the work is simply my love for still life, plus an accumulation of visual experiences: looking through a piece of amber or watching the light streaming through my glass of iced tea.
I began mentally juggling all the variables. What size tray could my freezer accommodate? What flowers should I try first? The camera would definitely be my 4 x 5, since I envisioned the photographs as 20″ x 24″ silver gelatin prints. I wanted the printed subject matter to be larger than life and I wanted the color of the prints to be warm.