I believe my love of images came from my grandfather’s basement. Poppy referred to himself as “a junker”, these days we’d call him an antique reseller. When we’d arrive after a long road trip to his Atlanta home I’d steal away to the basement as soon as possible. I loved all the old furniture, Coca-Cola paraphernalia and cast iron banks, but my forays into the basement had one purpose, seeking out "new" editions of LIFE magazine. I was enthralled with the emotion and stories, and the lure of black and white images. Years later in college I realized I had given myself an invaluable education in the history of photography. Images from Margaret Bourke-White, W. Eugene Smith and Gordon Parks were already burned into my consciousness. Of all the work I share with my students the work of these humanist photographers and the photographers who followed in their footsteps this work still moves me the most.
I have been teaching photography in California colleges for over 15 years now. Teaching has allowed me to discover all the things that photography is. My students bring me fresh perspectives and challenges. Unfortunately the demands of teaching can also impede photographic work. Sometimes you just have to go out and shoot rather than pondering why or what you are shooting and its meaning. Having young children at home has taught me to shoot “my work” wherever I find it, even while I’m fulfilling the role of fieldtrip documentarian for school trips or to snap a lovely landscape while on a family outing.