Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

Observations and Revelations


There’s a subtle connotation of sadness and introspection in many of my black & white photographs that I’ve taken over the years. This revelation hit me HARD while I was organizing, editing and scanning my negatives for the book project. Even many of the ones that don’t have people in them communicate a sense of solitude, isolation and quite sadness. Is it because I was experiencing sadness as I composed the pictures?

Self Shadow Portrait, Beaufort 1988

Adam at Atlantic Beach, 1995

Robin at Ft. Macon 1983
I’ve asked myself where this subliminal sadness come from? Is sadness different from depression? I think it is because I can be feeling a little sad, somber and introspective yet not necessarily be depressed. I think the sadness is very deep rooted in my Irish Catholic heritage. My mother also struggles with sadness and slight depression, yet she doesn’t even know where it comes from most of the time.
Adam on Long Island, 1987

I think it may be deeply ingrained in my Celtic genes (heritage) and goes back to the potato famine and even before when the Vikings (then the English) conquered Ireland and misplaced so many of my people. Is it possible to carry the heavy sadness of generations that came before me? The Irish can be incredibly fun loving and joyous people, but they (based on personal experience) can be very introspective, highly creative slightly manic and sad as well being incredible storytellers. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not whining about these revelations and feelings – I’m just making an observation based on my personal experiences and my photographs.


Banks Street Woods, 1998

I’m slowly making progress with my book, although now that school’s kicked back in I’m not getting as much accomplished as I would like. I have a 3 day weekend and hope to digitize more black & white negatives and journal pages.


Ocracoke Beach 1993

I also have to get some new photographs framed and ready for a Juried Exhibit in Raleigh and the Art From the Heart show that opens here in Morehead next month. So I suppose I need to shake IT off and get back to work. Just something to ponder as I sift through my photographic archive of over 30 years.


Adam at MHC Park, 1993


Andei Waking Up, 1995

Amberlie in Window Light 1994

When I see a potential photograph in my field of view I go into my “shooting zone”. From that point on the image making process becomes very intuitive. Everything from setting my aperture, shutter speed, composition, framing, subject placement and angle are become a involuntary response to my subject based on my personal style and approach. I photographically explore every aspect, gesture, expression and angle possible during those brief moments that my subject (no matter what it is) interests me. So when I say that many of my images have a somber tone to them I wonder if it’s something I am doing subconsciously in addition to the emotional response I create in my subjects during my photographic investigation of them.

One final note on this BloG entry. There are no winners in divorce and I’m well aware that my photographs, writing and art have been impacted greatly by the demise of my 2 marriages over the past 22+ years. With that said, I’m very, VERY blessed and fortunate to have wonderful, kind and even loving relationships with my children’s mothers. I’m not sure how many single Dad’s can say that.

food for thought…

Click Here for more Ireland Photographs


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This entry was posted on January 19, 2008 by in Book Project, Keough Journal.
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