I had decided to spontaneously fly down to Haiti in March of 1979. The first black republic, it has remained isolated and troubled to this day. I had set up my equipment in a boutique, and used a bedspread for a backdrop. As I could not afford color film and processing, at that time, these were only photographed in black and white, with Polaroids given to my subjects. This was my first experience in the third world, and it changed the way I saw things forever. I respected their grace and dignity through appalling living conditions. I had quite a line building up around the corner and casting was necessary in order to keep the peace.
I returned to Haiti three times - in 1980, 1984 and in 1998 - the first two times still under Baby-Doc, and it remains to this day a magical place. I later would go to Salvador, Bahia, and have always imagined doing a major story on the Haitian, Bahian, Cuban triangle - a blend of African and New World cultures, that, when synthesized has brought the world some of its most remarkable songs and dance.
I am now a portrait photographer currently residing in New York City. My photo studio is located in the historic South Street Seaport area of lower Manhattan.
My first photographs were photographs that talked - audiographs - which were photographs that had looped cassettes behind a framed image, and photographs that moved - kinetographs - which were photographs that were attached to moving motors. I photographed a documentary on Studio 54, the New York disco, in l978, and they were included in an exhibition at the International Center of Photography: Fleeting Gestures: Treasures of Dance Photography. I seriously became involved with formal studio portraiture in l979, and since have photographed many of the world's indigenous people - referred to as my Social Studies series - including Haitians, Australian Aboriginals, Native Americans, Scandinavian Laplanders, Israeli Druzim, Moroccan Berbers, Peruvian Quechua, The Traditional Dutch, Mexican Tarahumara, Lacandon, and Huichol, Alaskan Eskimos, Malaysian Penan, African Pygmy, Turkish Kurds, Panamanian Kuna and Chocoe, Brasilian Caraja, and Spanish Gypsies. In addition to these backdrop portraits, I have photographed
in 2 1-4 black and white reportage style, which are contextual, and are companions to the more formal work.
In 1992, I was invited to photograph the world's tribal leaders during Earth Summit, in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, so many other tribes are now represented in addition to the Social Studies series. I was asked by the United Nations and the United States Congress in November of l994 to exhibit this work in the United States Senate Rotunda, as part of the the UN's Year of the Indigenous People. I prefer to exhibit IRIS prints of my color images.
In addition to this personal work, I have worked extensively in commercial photography. I have photographed more than fifteen Time Magazine covers including portraits of all the United States Presidents since Richard Nixon. This includes President George W. Bush for the Person of the Year 2000 issue and the 1992 Man of the Year cover of President Clinton. I have photographed several world leaders, including Yassir Arafat, Kofi Annan, Benazir Bhutto, and Prince Phillip, and have won several awards through assignments for The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Newsweek, Rolling Stone Magazine, Smart Money Magazine, Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Texas Monthly, Sports Illustrated, and Playboy Magazine. Covers for Rolling Stone Magazine include portraits of George Harrison, Mick Jagger, Neil Young, and Jerry Garcia. I have completed major advertising campaigns for Nike, Federal Express, Transamerica, Japan Airlines, Amgen, Searle, and Blue Cross-Blue Shield
and most recently completed a series of portraits as a part of Apple Computer's Think Different campaign. I have done major corporate campaigns for Merrill Lynch, the Washington Post, The Ford Motor Company, McDonnell Douglas, Johns Hopkins University Hospital, The New York Times Company, Harvard University, and the Robin Hood Foundation. I have an extensive catalog of environmental and studio portrait images, the collection including numerous celebrities and politicians.
I have directed several television commercials, the first of which was filmed over the course of two months around the world for Danone Yogurt. I also have documented on my ethnographic still portrait projects. From l985 to l993 I worked with the fashion designer Issey Miyake of Japan, doing men's fashion portraits for the Japanese market and have photographed numerous album covers, including Bette Midler, Wynton Marsalis, and Yo-Yo-Ma. I have produced several book images, including the covers of the Abbie Hoffman and Keith Haring books, and am included in several compilations through Rolling Stone and Texas Monthly Magazines.
Social Studies, the book - a compilation of the ethnographic work - will include texts by various writers, social scientists, artists, and anthropologists.
I have an extensive doll collection and through their graciousness, have been allowed to photograph them with state-of-the-art 4x5 digital equipment. I am currently working on a still-life project: Life Stills, which are box constructions containing found objects. I had the 1995 summer show at the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico: Ethnographic Pictures. I exhibited a selection from the series Social Studies Sixteen: Turkish Kurds in Houston for FotoFest '96, which is now traveling internationally. In addition to the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, my work can also be viewed at the Fahey-Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, California, and the Baudoin Lebon Gallery in Paris, France.
At present, I am working on a series of vernacular American architectural images - called pop-stops - which combine the sensibilities of Edward Hopper and Andy Warhol. I am also shooting studio nudes in black and white, and have begun an environments series in the American West and the American East.