I think about myself as like an ocean liner that's been going full speed for a long distance, and the captain pulls the throttle back all the way to 'stop,' but the ship doesn't stop immediately, does it? It has its own momentum and it keeps on going, and I'm very flattered that people are still finding me useful.
What I'm exploring right now is the subject of my own mortality. It's an area that I'm curious about, and I'm researching it to see if there's a photographic essay in it for me. If images don't start to come, I'll go to something else.
I did not move into developing or processing color. I stayed with black and white. I still think to this day that I prefer to work in black and white if it has to do with poetry or anything other than specific reality. I have worked in color when I thought it was the appropriate way to express the thought that I was working on.
My memory of those places is better than my pictures. That's why I get much more satisfaction out of shooting thematic work that has to do with an idea that I'm searching for, or searching to express.
This time, there have been a lot of interesting discussion about the subject matter and I've had a good time talking about it. And in some of the cases, I'm not just signing books; I'm showing slides and talking about the work.
I have a master's degree in photography as a fine art, and I would call my work primarily conceptual. I don't carry cameras with me wherever I go. I get an idea of a subject matter I want to deal with and I pull out my cameras.
Most of my images have been done in-studio, under very controlled lighting conditions. There have been a few that have been shot in nature, but even then they were shot almost exclusively at night, and again, under controlled lighting conditions.
My wife and I are affiliated with a temple here in Los Angeles. We feel very close to the congregation and to the rabbi, who happens to be my wife's cousin and who I admire greatly. I talk to him regularly but I consider myself more spiritual than religious.
For a period of time, I carried cameras with me wherever I went, and then I realized that my interest in photography was turning toward the conceptual. So I wasn't carrying around cameras shooting stuff, I was developing concepts about what I wanted to shoot. And then I'd get the camera angle and do the job.
Some words having to do with the death of the people in the World Trade Center attack had been added, and when I got to it, I had this overwhelmingly emotional experience. I struggled to get through the words; tears were streaming down my cheeks.
Boston was a great city to grow up in, and it probably still is. We were surrounded by two very important elements: academia and the arts. I was surrounded by theater, music, dance, museums. And I learned how to sail on the Charles River. So I had a great childhood in Boston. It was wonderful.
I began working with a family camera. It was called a Kodak Autographic, which was one of those things where you flopped it open and pulled out the bellows. And I've been at it ever since; I've never stopped.