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frequently asked questions

  • What is a "limited edition," and why are the photographs numbered?

    My goal as an artist is to produce a small number of high quality prints. I would much rather be making new work than reproducing old photographs. For this reason, I have decided to limit the number of copies of a photograph that I will make. Usually I limit each photograph to 20 prints of a specific size (currently 11x14 and 16x20). These are sequentially numbered as they are made. This assures collectors that they are buying a work of art that will be fairly unique, and therefore valuable.

  • Why does the price of a photograph depend upon the edition number?

    It is not uncommon for limited edition artwork to be priced using a sliding scale. When an edition is started, the price is lower, thus insuring that the value of a print will increase as other prints in the edition sell.

  • Can I get a better price if I buy directly from you rather than through a gallery?

    No. My prices are posted on my web site (see About my Prints). It would be bad business practice to charge different prices in different places. Galleries are an important part of my marketing plan, and they work hard for the commissions I pay them. Please, if you see my work in a gallery, then buy it through them. Occasionally I do sell work directly to collectors who have not learned about me through a gallery, and in those situations I need to do all the legwork that ordinarily is done by the gallery.

  • It's "only a photograph." Why does it cost so much?

    There are two ways to answer that question. First, there's a lot that goes into it (see Methods of Work). Anyone who thinks I'm getting rich selling photographs needs a lecture about the business of being an artist!

    For the other answer, consider the following story. Late in his life, Pablo Picasso was on a trip to New York City. While he was walking down the sidewalk, a woman recognized him and came up to him saying "Oh Mr. Picasso, Mr. Picasso! I love your work!" Picasso thanked her politely. Then she said, "Would you draw something for me?" He replied, "Certainly, I would be glad to. Do you have a piece of paper and a pencil?" Digging around in her purse, the woman came up with a ball point pen and the back of an old shopping list. Picasso took the pen and paper, and made a drawing for the woman. As he was about to hand it back to her, he said "that will be a thousand dollars, please." The woman was astonished. She said, "A thousand dollars? How could that be? It took you only 10 seconds to make the drawing, and besides, you used my paper and pen!" Pablo Picasso replied, "You are correct in observing that I used your paper and pen, but you are incorrect in your assumption that it took me only 10 seconds to make your drawing. In fact, it has taken me 73 years to make that drawing."

    I have been developing my skills as a black & white photographer for more than 40 years.

  • If I special order a photograph, why does it sometimes take several weeks to receive it?

    My limited edition photographs are not all produced at once. I typically make several exhibition prints in an edition, but I do not print the entire edition at that time. Therefore, if you order a photograph that I do not happen to have "in stock," I need to go the darkroom and make it for you. This takes time, and needs to be scheduled into my other activities. I typically batch together enough work to be done in a day, because there is considerable overhead in setting up the darkroom, mixing the chemicals, etc.

  • How should I care for my photograph?

    I use only all-rag mat board to mount and mat my work, and I use UV glass in the frames. If you have purchased an unframed print, I suggest that you take it to a professional frame shop. My prints are toned in selenium, which enhances the tonal depth and adds considerably to the archival properties of the work. Nevertheless, your photograph should not be hung in direct sunlight or in a place that has high humidity (such as a bathroom that has a shower). I make my prints to look best under moderately bright quartz halogen lighting, such as from 60 watt track lights.

  • When are you "going digital?"

    I'll never say never, because never is a long long time. However, I spent many years in front of a computer, first in graduate school while I was doing my PhD dissertation, and then for 24 years at Bell Labs as a software developer and systems engineer. Sitting in front of a computer doesn't make me happy. I do it out of necessity to accomplish the "public relations" part of running a photography business. On the other hand, I love the tactile nature of working with traditional photographic media. There is something very satisfying about working with silver emulsions, and darkroom chemicals. It's also magic! Sure it's slower than digital photography, and a lot more involved too. But, what's wrong with that? I think by working slower, both in the field and in the darkroom, I am forced to really think about what I want my images to say.

  • How do you choose your projects?

    Some photographers get up in the morning and decide they will make a series of photographs of something. This is commonly called a "project." I think they teach it in art school. So, for example, a project might be photographing old women pushing shopping carts. For the next several months, the photographer will go out and look for old women with shopping carts.

    I don't work that way, probably because I never went to art school. When I make a photograph, I am primarily thinking of that image as a stand-alone piece of art. For me, it's a complete story in itself. Many of my photographs are purchased and hung alone, so my approach seems appropriate for my audience. However, now that I have been doing this full time for a number of years, I occasionally step back and ask: what is it that I am photographing? Are there any patterns to my work? What am I attracted to, and why am I motivated to photograph it? By looking at my work, I have learned a lot about myself. The categories in the "Limited Edition Galery" section of this web site were arrived at after the fact, reflect my current thinking about myself, and tend to change from time to time.

  • How many pictures do you shoot in a year?


    I don't mean to be flippant about it, but the term "shoot" is at best a quick reflexive act, and at worst an act of violence. Making art is neither of these. Neither do I "take" photographs. Art is not a process of taking something, but rather of creating something. It may seem trivial, but I think it's an important mindset that influences the way I do things, and ultimately influences the art that I create. I "make" photographs, slowly and deliberately, adding a piece of myself at each step.

  • What are your favorite Ansel Adams quotations?

    "The negative is the score, the print is the performance."

    "The good old days are primarily the product of a failing memory."

    "A photograph should reveal not only what is in front of the camera, but also what is behind it." I.e., the photographer.

  • What is your favorite poem?

    Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood, by Robert Frost. It speaks a lot to me about how I see my life. I have taken a different path from many people, and after quite a bit of soul searching, I have decided that I really like how I have turned out. I know it from memory, and I present it here your reading pleasure.

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    and sorry I could not travel both
    and be one traveler. Long I stood
    and looked down one as far as I could
    to where it bent in the undergrowth.

    Then took the other, just as fair,
    and having perhaps the better claim
    because it was grassy, and wanted wear.
    Though as for that, the passing there
    had worn them, really, about the same.

    And both that morning equally lay
    in leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I saved the first for another day,
    yet, knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I would ever be back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    ages and ages hence:
    two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
    I took the one less traveled by,
    and that has made all the difference.