Still Photographs taken between 2004 and 2014.
The Las Vegas Photographs
I remember reading Robert Venturi's Learning from Las Vegas decades ago and being mildly outraged that anyone with a serious interest in architectural issues could defend that city of tasteless excess. Of course I only knew Las Vegas from what I had seen in the movies. Well decades later I went there because it was a cheap way to get to the desert landscapes nearby. I fell hard for Las Vegas. In terms of architectural innovation the city has gone way beyond the neon signs and parking lots of the 1970s. Las Vegas has become a one stop destination for a host of vacation hot spots. New York, Mandalay, Paris, Rome, Egypt, and Venice have bizarrely been transported onto the Vegas strip.
And then there is the street scene. Freemont Street is literally covered with a five block arch shaped colossal digital screen. Digital advertisements bombard the pedestrians. The neon signs of the past seem down right meditative compared with the siren calls of the giant omnipresent video screens.
In most American cities people use the street to get from one place to the next. The crowds in Las Vegas cruise day and night. This city turned out to be the perfect place for me to take crowd videos. There is always something happening on the strip of a thousand possibilities.
These stills are a by product of my street videos, scenes I found ironic, funny, or just plain fascinating. Las Vegas is the brightest city on the planet when seen from space and may well be the future of the American city. As a photographer I couldn't take my eyes off this strange vision of things to come.
My still photography work is admittedly all over the place. But like most everybody who owns a camera, I have this hunter gatherers need to collect trophy images when I travel. I rarely take still images of people. That's what video is for as far as I'm concerned.
Ruins have long fascinated painters and photographers and I certainly share this passion. Photography likes decay. The weathered stones at Machu Picchu and the dilapidated building in Varanasi illustrate the mediums ability to transform the ravages of time into something memorable.
And then there is the pornographic relief at the temple site of Khajuraho in India. It is a unique religion, to understate the fact, that carves sexual acts into its temples. In truth most of the reliefs at Khajuraho are not overtly pornographic, but remarkable none the less.
The advertising figures in Florida and New Zealand, the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, as well as the figurines for sale in Rome. all came up on my irony radar on those excursions.
Some images, like the interior of the La Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona or the Guardian figure in Thailand, are simply wonderfully imaginative works of art.
The portrait of sculptor Scott Gilliam is one of the few still non-family portraits I've taken. Scott is a great sculptor who had important shows in New York but was ignored in his home town of Atlanta where people think giant earrings are sculpture.
The Angkor Temple complex in Cambodia is a vast array of remarkable ancient constructions as stunning as anything in the Western classical world, only on a larger, unimaginable scale.