As is perhaps true for many others, my interest in photography was first sparked by grand landscapes. I still shoot them, but find that my interests are shifting in the direction of scenes with a strong human element in them, albeit with no human figures. I am utterly incapable of photographing human animals, but enjoy photographing the non-human varieties, which reflects an infinitely greater empathy towards furry, feathered and scaly critters than towards my species. My eternal avatar, Ajax the Chubby Tabby, is one of our seven rescue cats and is always an obliging model, as are some of his foster siblings.
I am a first generation Argentinian. My Patiño father was from Galicia (the NW corner of Spain) and my Douce mother from France. I have a life-long attachment to the culture of old Europe and to the land of the Americas. A move to the US in 1986 to embark in an academic career in the Earth and Planetary Sciences began with graduate school at the University of Oregon, followed by a faculty appointment at the University of Georgia in Athens, where my wife (also from Argentina) and I have taught since 1991. The southeastern US has never been home, however, owing to a combination of factors: geographic (no mountains, deserts nor cirques), climatic (insufferably humid and long summers) and not least cultural (an equally fervent dislike of country music and hip-hop). The lack of mobility of academic couples has kept us here this long but we have recently bought a home in Santa Fe and will be retiring and moving to New Mexico in the near future.
Although my Ph.D. is in geology I am not interested in rocks. I am a mathematical physicist and rocks are no more than an excuse to write equations and to speak mathematics, which is the only universal language. The beauty of mathematics, and in fact of all of the physical sciences, is that answers are absolute, they do not depend on human subjectivity, opinions or belief systems - they are external to the observer and are what they are whatever you choose to believe.
Photography, like all art, is the exact opposite and thus provides balance to what I do. There is no way, for instance, to tell whether you see color the same way that I do. There is no external and absolute criterion that says that a certain composition is “better” than another one, or that a certain subject matter is more or less appealing or worthy. Gustav Mahler was viciously attacked by critics during his short life, among many other things because he dared to introduce in his symphonies popular motifs, unexpectedly and seemingly out of nowhere. Yet more than a century later there are many of us who feel that his unique genius was his ability to do this, and to exploit orchestral color in ways that make his music perhaps the most deeply felt and spontaneous among that of all great composers. I am no Mahler, of course, but, being a Mahler devotee, I wished to bring up this example to explain why I generally do not seek feedback, and why I am reticent to offer it. On to more practical matters, at present most of my photography is done with vintage manual focus lenses - Leica R, Carl Zeiss/Contax and Minolta Rokkor - attached to Sony full-frame cameras (A7, A7R and A7S). I do all of my processing in Capture One, which I find to be an uncluttered, versatile and powerful platform, which is also easy to learn on your own.
I often wish that I had been born half a century earlier. Among many other things, that would have saved me from the advent of (anti)social media and its influencers, selfies their practitioners and their hideous sticks, likes, follows, drones, discount airlines and mass tourism, the globalization of banality and, more generally and tragically, the widespread rejection of the Enlightenment ideals. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t grieve for a world that no longer exists. I visited Argentina for the last time a few years ago. I got so upset by the mass tourism that I encountered in Patagonia and the Puna Plateau that I decided never to go back. I want to keep with me the memories (and fading slides) of what those places were in the 1960’s and 70’s, when in my teens and early twenties I drove all over the country in a battered old Jeep with a WWII-vintage Leica rangefinder and Weston light meter on the passenger seat.
If you are interested, you can see some of my photography here and read some of my somewhat technical discussions and assorted opinions here.