WELCOME TO MY PERSONAL WEBSITE! Thanks for taking the time to visit and look through this collection of photographs. The intent behind this website is retrospective; its goal is to show a selection of images shot during the three decades of my career and to tell some of the stories behind them. When meeting people for the first time -- say, with a glass of wine in hand at a gallery opening reception -- I have often been asked "What kind of photographer are you? What do you take pictures of? People? Scenery? Do you work in a studio?" It has always been a challenge to accurately answer such apparently simple queries, as my work has not always been easily categorized into fixed genres. As you will see in the various galleries on this site, there was much technical and interpretive crossover between what are usually considered completely separate fields of photography. The easiest way to respond to the polite questions was -- and is -- simply to show a representative variety of what I have done. It has always been enjoyable to do exactly that and when possible to relate the tales of how and why the various photographs -- and the assignments that produced them -- came to be. The galleries listed at left are an effort to do just that. To take a look at them, simply click on any gallery name and it will open.
When my career began to gather momentum just over three decades ago, it was de rigueur for a competent photographer to put together portfolios of prints and 'tear sheets' of published work; I did the same of course. All is quite different now. With the advent of digital technologies and the Internet, the old-style analog portfolios are about to become a mere memory -- quaint relics of what the photographers' world once was. Those were absolutely critical marketing and self-intoduction tools for an independent photographer/
photojournalist working in what may well have been the world's toughest environment for that field; as such it was important that each portfolio convey both a mastery of technical skill and a distinctly attractive, unique visual sense.
The galleries that make up this website are intended as a variety of such "portfolios"; for them I have selected a number of photo genres that represent what were the main currents in my work. Much of the work was photojournalistic in that it was story-driven, with geographical, historical, cultural, or current-affairs themes the most prominent. My style of photojournalism did not include stalking political figures or celebrities, nor was it based on conveying scenes of misery or social injustice. Those specialties I felt comfortable in leaving to others. Much of my work was intended to produce multi-page "tokushu" ("special-issue") articles for prominent mass-circulation Japanese magazines. After 'learning the ropes' in Tokyo I was able to develop a basic rhythm: as a first step I would do the research and basic background planning for an idea and then construct and present proposals to the various editors. If my idea was accepted I would then coordinate the travel and photography, write the text and select an appropriate array of photographs, and assist in the final preparation of the finished article (viewing the color-separation test printing, making suggestions about the layout, etc.) if asked to do so. In most cases, such an "expedition" (either overseas or within Japan) would involve one or two major articles as the main output, with a number of smaller pieces evolving at various points in the flow. The great majority of images you will see here resulted from this process.
Some lines above, I used the phrase 'world's toughest environment for that field'; given the generosity and respect shown to guests and visitors by the Japanese, some individuals from overseas who have experienced such welcoming politeness may doubt that Tokyo was in fact as difficult a place as I have here asserted. Let me assure those people that when a photographer or artist in another field has an international reputation in place and is a temporary visitor from overseas, he (I am using the male pronoun only for brevity's sake in these pages; no slight is intended to our 'sisters-in-arms') will be treated as an honored guest. When a photographer (or musician, designer, choreographer, whatever) arrives and begins to work in this country and is competing directly with Japanese in the same field of endeavor on their home ground, the reception is often glacial and forbiddingly silent. This is quite different from, say, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, or London. In those cities, the respective photographic communities tend to be outward-looking and inclusive. If someone arrives, with a bit of effort and a positive attitude he becomes a part of the 'scene' -- the artistic culture of the place. Not so in Tokyo. While trumpeted within itself as 'international' and outward-looking, the 'scene' here is quite the opposite, so much so that the nasty little adjective 'incestuous' seems tailor-made to describe it. In recent years, there have been a few changes in a more liberal direction, so if they withstand the test of time there may be some hope for a truly international artistic culture in the future. Let's hope such will be the case.
But I digress. Suffice it to say that over the years I have immensely enjoyed all of this, even the difficult parts.
At any rate, I hope you, dear visitors, will enjoy the photographs here. From time to time I will update the content; please do take a look occasionally. I would very much like to hear any comments or questions you may have about the images. The galleries are listed on the left side at the top of this page. Just click on any of them, and enjoy.
I do sell prints of my work, and inquiries about that are certainly welcome. Most of my sales are of black-and-white prints; I have many more images than are shown in the black-and-white gallery here on the site. I you think you might have an interest in some of the other images, please do drop a note and tell me what has caught your eye or imagination and I can show a wider selection. If there is enough interest in purchasing prints, I will add a photo sales section to this site in the near future.
Throughout my years working with a camera, I always tended to be on the reserved side in matters of self-promotion. While I was not in the least shy about trying new combinations of equipment, technique, or overall approach when such was needed in the field, I was quite a different person when meeting a client in his office. Now I look back on that and think that perhaps I should have been more forceful and innovative in presenting myself.
Recently I stumbled on a site containing an application for designing 'retro'-style science-fiction-themed comic book or dime novel covers; I played with it and in a few minutes came up with the two satiric renditions below. Perhaps they embody the kind of approach I should have taken -- tongue-in-cheek at times, but always full of insistently positive overstatement.
Please do consider yourself heartily welcomed to this site -- such as it is. I hope you will find the photographs attractive and interesting, and will take your time as you enjoy them.