As much as I try to see it in my mind and create it, so often it is really created in the darkroom. The last two that I have been working on - and then working on some more - would have been very tough to pre visualize and therefore tougher to see a more primal message in them. One was a scene, shooting into the sun over a marsh with cloudy skys. The film captured the whole range of hues and my eyes could only take in a piece at a time when I was there. It was when I was in the darkroom that I saw the image and previsualized how the print needed to look to say what I felt. The other example was in infrared - I had no idea that the image would look as it did. I knew from experience that the sky would go black and plants would lighten but the image I got made the mountains look like tinker toys and the cactus illuminated like lightbulbs giving me a new idea when I started printing.
I do, however, try to capture on paper what goes through my heart when I am presented with a collection of things to photograph. Most common for me is when I do old buildings; I try to make the photo ask the question, who lived here? What was life like, what did they think of this place? And then I add my cast - There are those that see mankind as smart monkeys and those that see man as a spiritual noble being. Being the latter, I have no desire to record man at his worst. Plenty of folks have that covered. In any situation, I would like to portray man at his best - even if in challenging circumstances. So, when I photograph a building that is a ruin, I don't want it to show the despair of when they left, but the dream of why they built. It is my challenge to get that idea into the photo - especially if the object is a ruin.
On the other hand, being in Southern California, a lot of times I take the picture because what is see is just TOO COOL MAN. ----life has no dress rehersal----