'Woman on the Plaza,' with its distinct horizon, snow-like surfaces, wintry wall, stunning sunlight, sharp shadows, and hurrying figure, would become the most biographical of my photographs - an abstract image of the landscape and life of northern Ohio where I grew up and first practiced photography.
There are grander and more sublime landscapes - to me. There are more compelling cultures. But what appeals to me about central Montana is that the combination of landscape and lifestyle is the most compelling I've seen on this earth. Small mountain ranges and open prairie, and different weather, different light, all within a 360-degree view.
For sheer majestic geography and sublime scale, nothing beats Alaska and the Yukon. For culture, Japan. And for all-around affection, Australia.
Essentially what photography is is life lit up.
My best work is often almost unconscious and occurs ahead of my ability to understand it.
I wanted life to be episodic. I wanted to be a magazine photographer and I was willing to do what it took to become that.
There are a lot of ways to be expressive in life, but I wasn't good at some of them. Music, for instance. I was a distinct failure with the cello. Eventually, my parents sold the cello and bought a vacuum cleaner. The sound in our home improved.
Life rarely presents fully finished photographs. An image evolves, often from a single strand of visual interest - a distant horizon, a moment of light, a held expression.
My father taught me photography. It was his hobby, and we had a small darkroom in the fruit cellar of our basement. It was the kind of makeshift darkroom that was only dark at night.
The best lesson I was given is that all of life teaches, especially if we have that expectation.