I was first introduced to it by my grandfather, Samuel Hatfield (in Burlington, VT) when I was five or six. Working in a darkroom under dim red light, dipping the paper print in each of three chemical baths, then seeing the image develop before our eyes — my first taste of magic.
My family lived in New England, a place of mountains and lakes, rivers and ocean, woodlands and corn fields. When I was eight we traveled to the American Southwest, and I got to experience a completely different landscape: flat deserts and dry riverbeds, scruff trees and cattle pastures, distant mesas and huge thunderstorms a hundred miles away. That contrast struck me, and stayed with me. It taught me something about change and difference, similarity, the importance of paying attention.
By the early 1970s I was tinkering with computing, having expanded beyond the darkroom with a 300-baud acoustic modem to access a university mainframe 20 miles away. The Amiga and the Macintosh PCs landed in my life in the 1980s, and before long I was doing digital video capture and image processing. I installed version 1.0 of Photoshop, and along the way tinkered with MacPaint, DPaint, and the revolutionary Video Toaster.
Today's toolkit includes Fujifilm, Really Right Stuff, and Godox hardware, with Lightroom, Affinity, and Capture One software. But the real effort transcends these ephemera, driven instead by my mindfulness as a humanist, experimentalist, and whole systems strategist. My work — my worldview — is guided by a set of heuristics that prioritize:
- whole systems over fragmented perspectives;
- thoughtful engagement over snap responsiveness;
- emergent mystery over problems/solutions;
- macro-structures over micro-details;
- improvisation within structures over command and control;
- goals and outcomes over deliverables and inputs;
- leadership over management;
- creative and generative over consumptive and extractive;
- expansion over reduction;
- love over fear.
In my photography, I strive to consider the world through these intersecting systems, exploring how elements relate to each other, merging together and separating themselves in our minds, especially over time. I'm still compelled by those early experiences witnessing difference, contrast, and unity. I am attuning to the timeless quality of changeless presence. Similarity is a snapshot of this work.