Archived portfolios with Gelatin Silver Vintage Prints
66 imagesSince 1990, when I received a Fulbright Fellowship to photograph rural life in the Basque Country of southwest France, the heart of my work has been informed by this extraordinary region and its habitues. During the past two decades I have returned at least twice a year, and it has become for me a second home, one whose shifts have resonated with my own evolution as a documenter of place and community and spirit. Many of the old people in St. Jean Pied de Port and its surrounding villages speak not French or Spanish, but Euskara, the Basque language. This linguistic seclusion has contributed to their reputation for being closed and distrustful. Yet since the first day of my first visit, when an elderly woman named Madame Hatoig invited me out of the rain and into her house, where she gave me slippers, hot tea, and madeleines, a generosity and openness have been echoed many times over by the shepherds, cafe owners, students, postal workers, and farmers I have come to know and who now let me photograph the interior of their lives. In their kitchens and barns, over their afternoon glasses or Ricard, through their evening strolls and familial embraces, I have hoped to discover things rooted in the particularities of one walk of life, but which also transcend it and hold value for anyone musing about beauty and trying to hold on, about disappearing and transforming, about finding family, finding grace, and becoming attuned to ancient rhythms of human relations to place, to seasons, to soil and time.
78 imagesAmateur boxing stands in the shadow cast by its showier, professional cousin. Within this world, I have photographed a small boxing club housed in old church in Somerville, Massachusetts, at the New England Golden Gloves competition in Lowell, MA at Johnny Tocco's sweatbox in Las Vegas, and in Almaty, Kazakhstan, I have found something quieter and purer than I thought boxing could be. Alongside the blood and bruises exist relationships between fighter and trainer, and among fighters and trainers, that are as true and loving as relationships can be. The kids who come to the gym are almost by definition at-risk, and what they seek, what they hunger for, is as complicated as love, glory, and survival. I have travelled to Kazakhstan, where Olympic boxing feels new and full of promise, and children practice in large groups for hours at a time; back to New England, where the Silver Mittens draws scores of boys, and some girls, between the ages of eight and fifteen; back to the seedy Las Vegas boxing clubs whose walls reek of the desperate sweat of wanna-be's and hangers-on. In each of these worlds I have found the story of amateur boxing framed in images of bodies, tiredness, contact, desire, damage, relationship, violence and heart.
16 imagesThrough the long days and slow time and rhythms of rural cultures and places, I am reminded of the limitlessness of childhood. In Scotland, Italy, and the Basque country I am connected to my earliest memories. Certain summer night smells of fresh cut grass and the Boise River, canopied by a star-filled sky, come back to me in a visceral way when I am photographing. I become filled with curiosity, openness, clarity and optimism. I set out with my camera in a walking meditation. Time passes slowly, days are long. I notice peaches dropping from a tree, the geometry of a massive bird migration, smoke curling down a path. I have no expectations, no agenda, only a quiet awareness of things. The birth of a calf or a senior dinner dance, a country fair, a girl cradling her favorite lamb, the sad regard of a bachelor in the village of Montefegatesi: here aching beauty and imminent loss live side by side. The people I encounter are generous beyond words, they remind me of what matters.
41 imagesIn the remote Tian Shan mountains, bordering China, and five hours away from Kazahstan's largest city, the town of Tekeli has experienced all the trials of post-Soviet economic and social dislocation. Once a mining center, the struggles and perseverance of the residents of Tekeli. is visible on the faces of the people. Gritty and industrial, the city is, in essence, a microcosm of the economic decline of industrial areas in a post-industrial age, especially because the aging population there cannot leave and the exodus of youth continues towards larger cities. Despite unemployment, insufficient pensions, and increasing isolation among this aging population, I have found, and tried to capture, in documentary photography, the beauty and warmth of a proud people determined to hold on to their roots and way of life in a place that as often as not feels like the end of the world.