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Interview, Part 3

A Face in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina June 2008

A Face in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina June 2008

“In 1998 I read “Balkan Ghosts” by Robert Kaplan and it turned a switch on inside of me.  It suddenly seemed as if I was always going to places everyone else had gone, so I chose a less traveled path. After reading that book, I went to Bulgaria for a month. I have not returned to Bulgaria since, but I hope to this spring.  I have, however, been a frequent traveler to the Former Yugoslavia, i.e Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Serbia.   I have included Greece in my Balkan excursions.  I see this area as the historical and emotional crossroads of the world, full of hope, promise, pain, and blood.  I have fallen in love with the Balkans.  There is no other place like it.”

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Interview, Part 2

Railway station platform, Florence, Italy 1993

Railway station platform, Florence, Italy 1993

I can remember being astounded by the Cartier-Bresson’s  “Michel Gabriel, Rue Mouffetard” — the photograph of the young boy carrying the two bottles of wine.  I realized then that there was more to just snapping away at whatever you wanted.  That’s when I began to see a new world through the viewfinder.  My father’s good friend and mentor, Wright Morris, was another influence.   He was a writer and photographer who photographed the Midwest and America at roughly the same period as Walker Evans.   Many times over the years Morris’ calm eye has resurfaced in my mind, guiding me.

I like this view because it lies in between arrivals and departures, which are always exciting points when I travel.  The station is all but empty.  It was during this 1993 trip to Europe that I began to search for my voice.  Unfortunately most of the images from that journey are lost.  I only have a handful of negatives left.

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Interview, Part 1

kodak1I had the good fortune to grow up in a very artistic family, surrounded by art and literature.   Painters and photographers and artistic people were fixtures at my parent’s cocktail parties. I was one of those young kids you see running around art openings in New York, Provincetown and Wellfleet while their parents schmooze.  And, of course, they made sure that I learned how to look at a piece and talk about it intelligently. It was not enough to say I liked or disliked it but to explain why.

There were always cameras in the house.  I think my first was one of those Kodak Instamatic things with the cartridges.  In the beginning, I wasn’t concerned with ‘taking pictures’ – it was more about liking the feel of the camera in my hand. As a little boy, I enjoyed the winding up and ‘click’ of the shutter, plus the little flashcube that you stuck on top. When I began to shoot, I suppose it allowed me to step back and think about the world as a ‘subject’ of sorts.  So I took pictures of friends, summer camp … whatever I came across.

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Upcoming show in Troy, New York

I recently submitted 20 images for a juried show at the Digital Artist’s Space in Troy, New York.   The jury chose 7.    I am very happy,  for this small collection of documentary portraits highlights a dedicated group here in Ancramdale called  ‘Ancramdale Neighbors Helping Neighbors.’  They collect food and clothing for the needy and engage in other worthwhile area causes.   My inspiration was a quote by President Obama.   He said,

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the one’s we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Think globally…Act locally.

JDCM

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Moving along…

I’ll be adding links and posts as the days turn to weeks, etc…This will also be a conduit to my photography site, travels through the Balkan Peninsula, the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere.  Photography, travel, and images from outside the bubble, as Harry Shearer would say.  Nothing too personal here, just business.

Ta for now,

JDCM

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