Creative Process

In 1976 I self-published my first book of photographs, Jamestown Island. I juxtaposed photographs of the natural beauty of the island, site of the first permanent English colony in America, with quotations from the colonists’ diaries describing their hardships. This book is long out of print.

Some years later, living in DC, I took a class in experimental offset (at The Writer’s Center, taught by Kevin Osborn). This opened my eyes to using the press as an art machine. I went on to print both A Selection of Photographs of Specimens in the Conservatory of the United States Botanic Garden and Kew, the Royal Botanic Gardens on The Writer’s Center’s one-color press using a range of experimental techniques.

On the strength of those two books I won a National Endowment for the Arts grant which helped to fund my next two. High School Students grew out of an artist residency at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. It is a collection of unembellished portraits of students in a summer art program.

Next came Extinction Event: A Workbook in 1988. At the time, the cause of mass extinctions was an unfolding scientific mystery story. So I decided to use brief text entries to summarize the scientific developments while creating visuals of an extinction event in progress.

By 2013, digital print-on-demand freed me to design and publish books while sitting in front of my computer. I tried this out with the small set of photos in Butt Ends and Banana Slugs. Next was The National Western Stock Show, a straightforward documentation of a unique annual event at the Denver stockyards which I photographed for eight years before putting the book together in 2016.

Finally, in 2019, I used print-on-demand to showcase a set of photos which originated 30-odd years ago as 35mm slides. The views of lotus in Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are accompanied by descriptions of the lotus plant’s amazing qualities, and by photos of Asian artifacts which incorporate lotus motifs.

My interest in glasshouses that started in the Conservatory of the U.S. Botanic Garden continues to the present. I have visited and photographed in eight other conservatories in order to create my latest book, Plants Under Glass.