FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven, and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter. Each FOCAL POINT photographer receives mentoring from Crusade for Art to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them. In this interview series, every FOCAL POINT photographer gets asked the same three questions, and their answers become a jumping off point for the mentorship.
Describe the arc of your photography career so far.
I have been an artist for as long as I can remember, and it has been an amazing journey. In the 1970’s, while getting my BFA at Pratt Institute, I started teaching pinhole cameras to kids in basements in Harlem for the Police Athletic League. It was at Pratt that I remember having lunch with Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, where they first turned me on to photography. After moving to Syracuse to complete my MFA, I became in involved with the Community Darkroom at Syracuse University, which has had a big influence on my life. After graduating, I was very involved with the Everson Museum. I taught art classes, I had a one woman show of my work, and I was even invited to take part in the Oko Yono show.
In the mid-1980s, I returned to Syracuse after a brief stint in Pennsylvania and joined Light Work / Community Darkroom, which was a turning point in my career. It was then that I concentrated entirely on photography. Being accepted into the NYFA Mark program further propelled my career, which culminated in a presentation of my work at Smack Mellon in New York City. In 2011, I exhibited my Hudson series at Light Work and was later invited to participate in an exhibition of photo-based books at the SPE Northeast conference. Howard Greenberg’s Gallery in NY now exhibits my book in his artists book section. The Munson William Proctor Museum exhibited some of those images in 2013. Later that year I received a Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation award. My work has been exhibited several times in Made in NY at the Schweinfurth Art Center. In 2013, Light Work exhibited my Imperfect Memory series alongside their 40 Years / 40 Artists show, and this series recently had a four-page spotlight and interview in Black and White magazine. The Crusade for Art experience has now given me the opportunity to further my career and grow as an artist.
If you were exactly where you wanted to be in your fine art photography career, what would that look like?
I am interested in publishing more books and having my work be in collections of some major museums. I would like to be represented by a major gallery, have solos shows, and sell some work. All of this takes more funding and recognition. I believe I have the drive to make this happen.
What are your goals for 2015?
I am constantly looking for opportunities for grants and shows that would benefit my work. There are several galleries that I have in mind and I would like to tighten my presentation and start approaching these galleries. I also would like to expand my horizons and start looking at galleries and museums outside of NYC to exhibit my work.