Photo by Francisco Alonso Olea, 2011

Photo by Francisco Alonso Olea, 2011

A black and white Kodak advertisement caught my attention.  The simple image of a cityscape with a teenage boy leaning against a wall plastered with faded, torn posters portrayed an honest and oddly poignant moment.

It was 1972.  I was living in New York City, married with two small sons.  Inspired by the ad, I started carrying a point & shoot camera and capturing whatever struck me as memorable or unsettling.  I soon bought a 35mm SLR camera and began educating myself with classes and exhibitions.  At night I would transform my kitchen into a darkroom and stay up late watching the chemicals turn my observations into silver images.  After moving with my family to Hartford, Connecticut, I built a legitimate darkroom in the basement of my house.  In 1981, I began working professionally with a focus on portraiture, weddings and events.  Color landscapes I had done in Europe and America landed me magazine work and eventually architecture/interior design documentation and advertising.  I continued to pursue my own projects, receiving a Connecticut Individual Artist’s Grant in 1987 for experimentation in B&W portraiture.  I taught at the Hartford Art School for a couple of years as an adjunct instructor.

In 1992 I stopped photographing, sold all my equipment and most of my possessions, and traveled.  I had become certified to teach English as a Second Language and wanted employment in Europe.  Instead I ended up in an ashram in India teaching English and learning meditation.  I moved to California in 1996, and in 2005 began again to capture the world both within and around me.  I had met a man who invited me to live with him, had gifted me a digital camera and told me to get back to work.  I’m still with this man and still photographing.

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