I thought I had lost this picture but I found it today. This picture answers a lot of questions about why I do what I do. First a description. My father was stationed in Korea in 1960-61. He was assigned a driver and a translator. I didn't get to know the driver well but the translator was almost a member of our family. His name, or as he told it to us, was WonBon. I was 5 and 6 years old in Korea. I'm probably 5 years old here because my mother insisted I got to first grade which meant our forays into the wilderness came to a stop. Where we were in Korea (Seoul) once you drove off the Army base you were on dirt roads. Quite often the driver, translator and my father would go off the base and into the countryside. I got to ride in the very back of the Jeep.
This was some of the happiest times in my early life. I loved the scenery and views in the mountains. I loved riding in the Jeep and spending time with my dad.
Why nature photography? My dad became ill with alcoholism when we left Korea and came to Virginia. He had always drank a little too much but in Virginia he became a different person and there were very few happy times and a lot of unhappy ones. But I always managed to find peace in the woods and when I got that first nice camera at 19 it was only natural for me to take photographs of nature.
Why manipulation? The basic reason is that I started doing art shows around the time that digital cameras first hit the market and as my friend Steve Vaughn puts it, photographers were multiplying like paramecium in a petri bowl. I was told my photography looked like everyone else's and it did. So I decided to change that.
But why did I change it the way I did? Well I needed glasses when I was five. If you look closely at the picture you can see I am already squinting. It was not a concious decison to change my images to look like what I saw in Korea those many years ago but I think it had something to do with it.
And of course I drive a Jeep today.