It started with being downtown and in my early 20’s fresh out of college. There was this club downtown and before that, for a minute, Studio 54 uptown. It was pre-AIDS. It was New York City. I loved every minute of it. So my thought was to photograph my peers at this shoebox of a club on White Street called The Mudd Club. From that point on my curiosity grew and I found myself soon after in Jacmel, Haiti, in March of 1979, with an old strobe system and a line of 100+ people out the door of the clothing boutique near the Iron Market. I had rented it or the day in order to record the inhabitants. There was an exhilaration I had to repeat over and over again. It lured me in and I had no choice but to do this and see where it may lead me.
It was always the thought to humanize. The thought/feeling was to make people show their inner pride. They either looked directly at you, or they were off to the side looking to the heavens. I wasn’t trying to trick anyone. I kept it simple. One light with a simple mottled backdrop. In the early days, the late 70’s and early 80’s my friend was my old Rolleiflex. Such a beauty. So quiet and shy. Mostly it became a very discreet tool and a way I could document with a certain given quality in 2 ¼ film. The SX-70’s ~ what a beautiful way to immediately show the subject what the great mystery was as I worked the room alongside the small flash and mottled backdrop. It was always an adventure. It also validated my reason to exist.
So I went to Haiti, Scandinavian Lapland, Holland, Mexico, Italy, Australia, The Philippines, China, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Spain, Panama, Morocco, Russia, Papua New Guinea, Borneo, Alaska, Peru, Bolivia, and lastly ~ America. And while doing so I photographed the Native Americans who lived and worked in New York City, the Death Row Inmate, the Sami Laplander, the Papua New Guinea Highlander, the Malaysian Penan, the Italian Sardi, the Moroccan Berber, The Philippine T’Boli, The Guatemalan T’Zutuhil. The Spanish Gypsy, The Mexican Lacaondon, Huichol, Tarahumara and Mennonite, the Australian Aboriginal, The Panamanian Chocoe and Cuna, and the Central African Pygmy.. I entered clubs, homes, restaurants, boutiques, the beaches, the cafes, the markets, the outskirts of towns, villages, waterfalls and schools. I was in the cornfields and I was in the center of great urban cities. I traveled by air, rail, boat, and automobile. I slept in tents. I slept on floors. I slept in beds or sleeping bags. It was always fun. It was contact with a purpose.
And it was like getting to see the world for the first time, every time ~ like a child’s innocent eye. It is something I always kept with me, even in the digital age.
I called the project my SOCIAL STUDIES and I am happy to share the photographs with you.