My Photo

One-Line Bio

Down the rabbit hole. A submerging artist. Wish you were here.

Biography

The first film I ever shot with any sense of purpose was in 1971 using a Kodak Instamatic. I developed it in a set of Pyrex dishes at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio. Later, watching a print from this film alchemically appearing in its developer forever changed the way I saw the world.

For the next several years I rarely went anywhere without a camera. Its weight, I think, was the only thing that kept me anchored to the earth. I wasn’t known in those days for a sense of responsibility.

In 1976, at the end of a solitary and fruitless three-month bus tour of the United States, I left countless rolls of undeveloped film and a Leica M3 on a bench at the Greyhound terminal in Dallas. I walked away and never looked back. Somewhere along the trail my muse had left me, taking my single-minded obsession for photography along with her.

I didn’t really pick up a camera again until the late 1980’s. By this time, most of my old negatives and prints were long gone. I’m not even sure at what point they disappeared or where they eventually wound up. Nonetheless my interest in photography itself hadn’t diminished and, if only in my mind, I had continued to visualize and snap pictures on occasion. It only makes sense then, as I became more and more involved in the mysteries of personal computing in the 80's and 90's, that curiosity would lead me to explore the converging relationships between photography and digital imaging.

I’ve never considered myself to be a technical person. In fact, resolving technical issues has always been the least interesting aspect of the creative process for me. There is some irony here in that I’ve chosen to “paint” within the circle of a creative community so technically charged that both the artists and their audiences are at constant risk of becoming too preoccupied with technical wizardry to imagine any other reason for the image to exist.

Nothing is so black and white, of course. In the end, there are as many ways to perceive an object as there are people who are looking. This idea is nicely illustrated in the old story about the Zen master, who with two of his students watches the wind bending the branches of a nearby tree. One student says, “It is the wind that moves.” The other, “It is the branch that moves.” To which the master replies that the real movement is neither of the wind or of the branch but of something within their own minds.

His response was calculated not to eliminate cause for wondering but to provoke it. In my own mind an artist’s work can serve no more ambitious purpose.

peter
austin, tx
2007