The former "Gold Coast" Mansion of Harold Irving Pratt, "Welwyn" is now home to the Nassau County Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center. The surrounding 204 acres of old growth forest, creeks, springs and teenage angst is now a nature preserve and my favorite place to escape grown-ups.
Dad was a 3rd generation Preacher. He spent his entire 54 year career teaching people how to love and be tolerant of thy neighbors. He led by example. The 23rd was his favorite Psalm. He authored a 226 page meditational guide explaining the short poem in hopes of leading his readers through the valley of the shadow of death.
Dad taught me how to see, walk, talk, write, listen, ride a bike, light a match, snack @ midnight, row a boat, sail, sharpen a knife, carve a turkey, cut the cheese and laugh. He also showed me how to shoot a rifle and curse at the same time. One Sunday morning after church, before my feet could reach the pedals, he showed how to drive, I sat on his lap and steered us home.
"Lost In The Endless Mountains"
My parents built a log cabin in the "Endless Mountains" as their retirement home. Soon after retiring they decided to leave the hand-carved "Merry Christmas" plague above the door up year-round. In the past several years, I visited as often as possible to help around the house as Dad succumbed to cancer. As a reprieve from this sobering time, I'd slip away each day for a short drive whilst Dad napped, he no longer had the energy for a scenic drive. I'd visit the farms I briefly worked at as a teenager, snoop around people's yards and simply drive until I was lost. In the evening, I'd share the daily take with Dad on his TV. He was the biggest champion of my work.
A wise man once cautioned me; "You don't need a longer lens, you need to walk closer".
"Lost on Long Island"
Grandpa Ashe taught me how to get lost. On lousy weather days when boating wasn't an option, we'd head out from his summer mobile ("Don't call it a trailer!") home "Lobster Heaven". We'd explore the back roads of Long Island's south fork in his old Buick LeSabre with an aim to get lost and discover hidden places. Somehow we always found our way home for dinner and Grandma Ruthie's homemade pie.
"Solo Solo Foto Show"
Occasionally, I temporarily hang my little 4"x6" dye sublimation prints for an impromptu photo show purely for my own amusement.
"The Nightlife of Montauk Daisy"
Roxy gave me a Montauk daisy the day after my 15 year old dog Daisy died. I photographed the perennial plant's flowers in the dark for one year whilst humming/screaming a Lead Belly/Nirvana song.
Yes, I am "That Uncle". I curse like a sailor, drive like a maniac, trespass, play in traffic, climb trees, hide in the woods, mimic ravens, whisper to dogs, understand cats, tolerate human nature, look into garbage bins for photographic opportunities and wander around Long Island talking to strangers and taking their portraits.
I lived in a teepee near the continental divide in Colorado, and in a shack in "Avalanche Estates", Alaska. We ran to get our water everyday. Ultimately, I missed the on/off switch too much to stay off the grid.The idealistic young people in this portfolio built their dwellings on the edge of the wilderness in search of their utopia.
"17 NYC Parks"
A few winters past, I walked through 17 NYC parks. I was suffering panic attacks while driving on highways and over bridges. My Doctor assured me the only cure was to confront my fears . I took his advice and self-prescribed a new project which forced me to drive. The promise of a few good photographs inspired me to trudge onwards.