In 1965, as a college student, I was inspired by the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. who called for volunteers to join him in the civil rights movement. Black Americans in the South were engaged in a determined struggle to gain the right to vote. By June I was on a train heading from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Greensboro, Alabama to join the registration campaign.
A photographer friend insisted I had to document my experiences and gave me a camera. I had no understanding of the power of the still image. So when I got to Greensboro, I pushed the Nikon under my bed where it stayed all summer, a decision I have regretted ever since.
But after my mother’s sudden death in 1968 I got a second chance. A strange and detailed dream led me to discover her old Olympus camera, hidden in a drawer in the attic of her house. This time I embraced the opportunity, and throughout the years, never lost my passion for the still image.
With several others, I created a documentary photo collective, Optic Nerve. . However, we eventually began making films and In 1981 we formed a new company, Ideas In Motion, for the production of documentaries, many airing on PBS and distributed globally. Over the years, however, I remained drawn to still photography and am now returning to focus all my attention on this medium. While doing volunteeer photographic work with immigration organizations, I am also developing a book with a writer friend.