2nd Place Awarded

This past weekend my work was awarded 2nd Place in the photography category at the Conejo Valley Art Museum Art Walk.  I don’t put too much behind contests as the results are so dependent on who is judging, however it was nice to gain the recognition.

Second Place Ribbon

2nd Place at Conejo valley Art Walk

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Tiburon Art Festival

I will be exhibiting the Organic Light Photos this coming Saturday and Sunday, August 28th and 29th, 11 am to 6 pm both days in the lovely Marin town of Tiburon in the Tiburon Art Festival For more information check here. The weather will be perfect!

I will be showing some new work as well as the classic Organic Light images that you have all come to know and love.

It would be great to see you there.

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Brushes Of Light

Light, we see by it and at the same time it is invisible.  The more I ponder about light, the more perplexed I become.  Duality is its nature behaving as both a wave and as a particle known as the photon.  We can recognize it as a wave after it interacts with an object and we see various colors.  Its interaction with an object takes place as if it is a photon.  When it is present we can see and in its absence we are blind.  It brings a steady flow of information to our eyes and by it we interpret the world we live in.

Brushes Of Light

Brushes Of Light

But how we see the world and what is really there are two very different things.  It is difficult enough to understand this for a stationary object let alone for one that is constantly moving, like water flowing in a stream.  By the time you see the moving object it has already moved to a new point in space.  Luckily, light moves so fast, 186,000 miles/second, that the distance that something can move in the time that its light reaches our eyes is for all practical purposes so miniscule that we can say we see it in its actual position in space.  Further, its motion is so fluid that we see it as continuous. 

Throw a camera into the mix, which is an intermediary between the photographer who experiences the object and the viewer who only sees the photograph, and it creates a departure from reality.  Due to its technical nature, the camera can either freeze a moment in time or produce the illusion of motion as the object streaks passed its fixed lens.  Then in the hands of the photographer, the photograph itself can be manipulated in such a way as to remove any reference to reality bringing about an abstraction that only hints at the natural presence of light itself.

In the hands of the photographer, the one who writes with light, art is created through a simple tool of capture – the camera. Handled deftly, and the camera moves beyond mere capture, and becomes the translator of the intent of not just the photographer but of the artist within as well.

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A Time to Reflect

Reflection of trees in the Big Sur river
Reflection of trees in the Big Sur river


Four nights ago we entered into a special month, the month of Ramadan.  For close to 1/4 of the world’s population, this is a month of worship, a month of struggle and a month of reflection.  Prayer and devotional recitation of the Quran increase throughout the day but especially at night, and sometimes well into the wee hours of darkness while the world sleeps.  For the entire month, Muslims abstain from eating any food or drinking anything as well as abstaining from any marital relations with spouses during daylight hours, – these being the outward acts of fasting.

But fasting has an internal aspect as well, one that requires a person to reflect on one’s own condition.  Reflection and introspection are an important part for anyone who is on a path of self-improvement.  We suffer greatly as a species when we fail to reflect upon our actions as a whole.  If we stop and just realize what it is we are doing day to day I think we would be shocked.  If we are not making head way to higher states of existence then we are falling back.  There is no standing still.  For most people, they never act in any manner that is higher than any other animal that populates the Earth.  We wake, defecate, urinate, ingest food, copulate and fall asleep again.  Now that seems harsh on my part to say such a thing of my fellow humans, but in essence I do just the same, in fact we all – animals included – all fall back to this very basic common thread of existence.  However I don’t think that that is all life has to offer us.  I don’ think that this is all we are supposed to do in this life.  It most definitely is not the state that I want to exist at. Continue Reading »

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The Necessity of Art

These days I make my living as an Artist and Teacher, which is strange given that all my training has been in science culminating in a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.  It was during that time as a doctoral student that I became enamored with photography.  I have always loved the outdoors, and quickly discovered the natural and wild areas of the San Francisco Bay Area when I arrived.  My jaunts into the Santa Cruz Mountains were very threraputic in combating the stress associated with graduate study and work.  One day though I picked up a camera out of the necessity to defend my good word against claims that I could not have possibly seen the new crescent moon when it first becomes visible.  The camera was at first a scientific tool that I used to record natural phenomena, much like any other scientific instrument used in an experiment.  However what happened after that was pivotal in my life.

The light was transforming.  It was alive and changed its mood constantly and it brought me along for the ride with it.

Lagunitas Sunset

Lagunitas Sunset

I don’t have many photos from those early days any more but the above sunset was one that was hard to just toss away.  It had a quality of light that was just mesmerizing.  Light became my drug and I needed to chase after it often and capture it for my own edification.  For six years as a graduate student I pursued the light.  Capturing it as often as I could, wherever I happened to be.  I was an observer, I was a learner, I was a scientist with a tool in my hand that captured light.  Nearing the end of graduate school I met my future wife, who was an Artist and taught art at a local private elementary school.  It was exciting being around her when she worked.  She put her soul into her paintings and it came through in her work, it was her.  In six years of trying to share the excitement I found while out photographing the landscape, no one I knew shared my excitement until I met her.  She actually pushed me to achieve better results and was genuinely interested in the light I was capturing.

Fast forward to a time after graduate shcool, we are married now and things are different.  My photos were now obstacles that my wife needed out of the way.  Thousands of them, stored in boxes, were in her way as she moved through the house.  She brought an ultimatum – “toss out all these boxes collecting dust or do some thing with them”!  And that was the pivot that changed me from being a scientist concerned with observation into a artist concerned with expression.  For nearly eight years I had been in observation mode internalizing the natural world.  Capturing moments in time that caused my heart to flutter or that stole my breath away.  For eight years Mother Earth was the balm of my aching soul.  Now it was time to express to others what was arguably overflowing in my heart.

I have read many definitions of art.  None seem to hit the very core of what art is or what an artist does.  To me an artist is someone who expresses to others what is contained in his or her heart and art is that expression.  It can be beautiful or ugly, joyous or sad, and constantly changing.  By default the artist is a scientist because simply put a scientist is some one very skilled at observation.  The scientist internalizes observations and formulates theories based on those observations.  For the most part the scientist’s job stops there.  The artist on the other hand is also a skilled observer and internalizes experiences as well.  However the artist is also a skilled communicator and expresses what he or she has internalized through some medium, be it visual or otherwise.  And while formal science is fairly young in the scope of time, the skills of observation and expression used by an artist is as old as humanity itself.

The Hunt

The Hunt

Humans have been expressing their experiences through some moving means for a very long time.  Whether it is through pictures on a wall, or through the words of a story teller or author, or through rhythm and tones, the artist relates what is in his or her heart to others in moving ways.  In some respects art is what completes us as human beings.  It brings us together peacefully.  It lightens our circumstances and allows us to escape, even if for only a short while, the rigors of life itself.  It allows us to relate with our feelings and emotions – it makes us human.

In the world of today, where terror, oppression, tyranny, injustice, and greed dominate the public sphere it is even more important that we double, or even triple our efforts to include art in our lives.  I am afraid for the generations that follow me that are devoid of art.  How cold and lacking of compassion will they be?  Disconnected from their emotions like soulless robots running on automatic or worse yet with the intent on set to kill!  Art is not taught in schools anymore due to budget cuts.  It is seen as extracurricular and placed on the wayside.  If a young student has a special talent for expression it is not fostered in a meaningful way such that he or she might make an honest living at it.  It is truly a sad state of affairs.

In times of financial turmoil it is art that gets amputated and left to rot first – it being seen as not necessary in life.  However it is through art that we find respite from the worries and anxiety that comes from tribulations in life.  Is it any wonder that hospitals and medical clinics are chock full of art on the walls?  Illness brings our mortality center stage and nothing is more stressful and un-nerving than that.  And yet through the art on those walls, a climate of peace and serenity can pervade the heart.  Look at any piece of art you have in your own home, and observe how it makes you feel.  No, art is not only crucial now more than ever before – it is Necessary.

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