Early on the electronic flash was always part of my photographic process. I think it came from photographing skateboarding. Thanks, J. Grant Brittain! Then a teacher at art school showed me that book by Larry Fink called Social Graces. Boom! Something went off in my mind. I tried really hard not to ape Mr. Fink after that point. When I moved to San Francisco in 1995 the diffused Bay Area light seduced me . That light is very neutral and descriptive. You can show things the way they just are. The flash was left on the shelf. Well, creativity doesn’t have to be about representing things how they are – it should be about how you feel.
I’m loving the flash again. It records unscripted moments with a kind of “I was there” detail, like a scientific instrument. The way I use it adds drama. Drama that wasn’t there in the first place? Does that matter?
It reminds me of the moment I looked at my parent’s wedding album. They were all shot with on camera flash, a technique most would consider crude. The moments are compelling and sweet and it doesn’t matter what gear was used. What I think here is important to me – Put some worthy idea or subject in front of the camera. Don’t make your “look” or “style” more important than that subject. Sometimes I think we get in photography’s way. Strobes, lenses and Lightroom plug-ins are useful options but what you choose to put in your frame should have equal importance with how you shoot it.
See an album of recent work here.