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Cleaver I, 1973 I’ve been taking pictures since elementary
school, when I started with a Brownie box
camera. But when I hit eighth or ninth grade,
my father gave me a Voigtländer Bessa I, a
very fine camera for a kid, and I started
developing my own film and making contact
prints. Before I graduated from high-school,
a friend of ours gave me a rickety old 5-by-7
enlarger, and I was on my way.

The picture to the left is the only one I’ve
had published. It appeared in Drummer back
around 1980 in a two-page bleed that led off
an article about other photographers, who all,
unlike me, were fully famous. Like
Robert Mapplethorpe.
Help is Near, 1991 Nowadays, photography means digital
photography, and digital means color,
since certainly nobody would manufacture
a black-and-white-only camera. And I’ve gone
along with the trend, with a nice digital camera
that I now use exclusively. But I grew up with
monochrome, and the word “photography” really
means black and white to me. Even though I know
I’m not color-blind, I claim that I see in black
and white; it’s certain that none of my color
pictures have turned out as well as these.

To come back to the pictures, the top shot was
one of the images I submitted for a one-man show
(my only!) at Stompers, a gallery on West Fourth
Street, in the very heart of Greenwich Village, in
April of 1981. I was terribly impressed with myself.
The show was a succès d’estime, but there was not
a single print sold.
Ken & the Persimmon Goddess There were several
pictures of Ken, Barbie’s
boyfriend that is, in the
Stompers show, but
when I got home to
Providence, photo-
graphing shots from
the Scenes from the Lives
and Deaths of Ken
my most important
photographic activity.

Here, to the left, is
Ken abases himself
before the Persimmon
, from 1982.
Above that is Help
is Near
, from 1991.
Something like Roquepertuse, but in wood Tentatively entitled He looks on in approval,
this one is comparatively new, dating from
February 2009. You can see a picture of the
archeological treasure from Roquepertuse,
outside Marseille, that I had in mind before
I made this picture.
Ken and Officer West, close together In January 2014, after a year in Saint Paul,
I felt that I had to get working with film, so
I pulled out my cameras and took more
pictures of Ken. Here he is with his friend
Officer West of the Los Angeles Police
, whom he met in the early
years of this century. Their relationship
is much stormier than this picture would
suggest. Its title? Ken knew the relationship
could not last
Dead grass in a vial In the winter of 2014-15, I started noticing
how interesting some of the dead annuals
were looking. I stole some dead flower heads
from neighbors, I took some of my own, and
in the path leading to the neighborhood
grocery, I found some wildflowers and other
dead things. I took pictures, a few successful,
most not, but this is one I liked. I don’t think
it needs a title.

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