As a boy, I grew up in a small village where farming was important and my free time was spent hiking in the woods and exploring the natural world. My village was straight out of Norman Rockwell − with me, a freckle- faced boy bicycling past farm houses and white picket fences, tree lined streets, waterfalls in the middle of town, country stores, barking dogs and kindly neighbors. Then, when as a young man my country sent me off to war, my youthful ideals were altered in unimaginable ways.
Now, years later my work is very much about memory and is an exploration of both where I come from and the quietness that surrounds us, if we just stop and listen. Over the past 15 years I have created a visual diary in which there is sadness and hope, beauty in quiet decay and the gradual rebirth of the land. A land of memory filled with stories. I look with my camera and my heart at what remains, what has been reborn.
In the series, Ghosts in the Landscape: Viet Nam Revisited, memory has drawn me back to the landscape of my youth and the war I fought in. This work is not about nostalgia or rehashing events of war, but is instead about understanding my youth and my journey through adulthood. This, beauty and the beast, is the emotional thread that runs through my work and is what the pinhole camera, with its deliberate pace and contemplative work- ing methods, allows me to convey.
The slow pace of the pinhole is important to me. It provides a connection to my subject that a faster camera wouldn’t allow. Many of my images require exposures ranging from five minutes to an hour. These long exposures reveal an intimacy with my subjects that is distinctly different from what happens with an exposure of 1/125 of a second. Generally, I am at a given spot photographing from 30 minutes to an hour. During this time, not only do I set up the equipment and make the exposure, but I have the time to contemplate my immediate surroundings: what caused me to stop at that location. Sometimes I discover its connection to my past−implied or real.