Photography for me is therapeutic. I focus on Martha’s Vineyard, which I consider my home, in addition to a place of residence. The first day I set foot on the Island I felt a spiritual connection and didn’t understand why – but later would learn. After a catastrophic collapse in 2010, my, family, the Island, and photography have been the keys to my recovery and sobriety of over eight years.
Believe it or not, there is a meditative form of photography known as Miksang, which means “good eye” in Tibetan. It proposes a focus in the moment and a clearing of the mind to take in pure perception and requires a “soft heart”. When I make it to a Vineyard location at four in the morning to catch the sunrise I use the camera and the moment to clear all problems of daily life and experience each sense to the fullest. Capturing the images of those moments becomes an expression of the happiness and serenity I feel in the absence of alcohol. Having been an alcoholic for thirty years I feel like a kid who has been exposed to joy for the first time and those feelings serve as the focus of the images I choose to take. If others feel the same joy in looking at my captures, all the better. But regardless, the creative process will always be a part of my philosophy of taking life “one day at a time” and living in the moment.
When I go back to my computer after a photo shoot, I can spend hours attempting to make up for the defects of most camera sensors. I need to recreate the image as I perceived it while at the location. I do not edit photos to enhance their salability or to try to impress people of my photographic abilities – but rather to complete the process of expressing what that moment meant to me.
Lastly, sobriety cannot continue without a focus on giving back to others and maintaining a sense of community. It is difficult to donate money, time and resources with the daily difficulties we all face. But I insist on donating a portion of my work to help Island service organizations that do the good work of helping others. I recently completed my Masters Degree in Psychology and work with the addiction community in helping patients find resources when they are ready to heal. The combination of counseling, photography, Martha’s Vineyard and a beautiful family, is as good as it gets! I hope you enjoy my work and truly feel the serenity and beauty the Island has to offer.