When my family moved to England in 1975, my father converted a bathroom into a darkroom and gave me a camera. I remember well the first rolls of film, wandering behind our house and framing a mushroom-shaped tree, making shadow self-portraits using my bedside lamp, and photographing my parents and siblings. When the rest of my household went to bed, I turned on the amber lights and worked late night hours in the darkroom.
After college I traveled for two years on a Watson Fellowship studying medicinal plants in the Andes and Himalayas. The first year I settled in a remote village in the high Andes in Peru and the second year I lived in Kathmandu where I studied Ayurveda with a local botanist and park ranger.
When the fellowship ended, I returned to Vermont and built a darkroom in a barn. That first winter, the chemicals froze at night, and the heat tape caught on fire covering all my prints in fine black soot. In 1986 I moved to San Francisco where the average temperature in my flat hovered around the darkroom standard, 68˚.
My Peru photographs were shown at the Michael Shapiro Gallery in 1989, and the following year a Maine Photographic Workshops Work Grant enabled me to return to Asia to photograph in Nepal, India, and China. I had my first solo show in NY in 1996, and my photographs were printed and reviewed in the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times.
In 2007 my work shifted when I spent a sabbatical year in Rome with my family. Once a week I took the train to Florence to study bookbinding with an old master named Omero Benvenuti. As I walked between the train station and his shop each week, I became captivated by the old bikes, and I made my first series of color digital photographs. When we returned to San Francisco, I set up a bookbinding shop and photography studio in the Mission where I now hand make photography books and Italian style journals in the style that Omero taught me.
When I am not working in my studio, I am often found practicing my drums. Since 1992 I have studied tabla with the great master Swapan Chaudhuri, and in 2005 I began kanjira (South Indian tambourine) lessons with Ganesh Kumar. Photography and music are balancing forces in my life. Matter and energy. Photography stops time and photographs speak in silence. Music makes the present moment fluid, and even with our eyes closed we fall under its spell.