These images are from my "Simple Life" Portfolio. This body of work is an exploration of the Old Order Amish and Mennonite culture. In keeping with their simple lifestyle, I have chosen to present these images in Black and White, and with a straight forward and honest approach. These photographs are made in that split second when subject and photographer are one.
I am a passionate Fine Art Photographer from Eastern Pennsylvania. I graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Although not formally educated in photography, I am tirelessly dedicated to my craft. I strive to achieve perfection, from technical execution to composition. I feel an emotional connection to my subjects, and choose compositions that will ask questions and challenge my viewers. I draw inspiration from many master photographers and painters, past and contemporary. I have studied with numerous master photographers including Michael A. Smith and Paula Chamlee. My photographs have been selected for many National and International exhibitions and competitions. They have earned substantial recognition. A few of my recent awards include: 2011 PX3 Prix De La Photographie Paris official selection, "Best of Show" in a National exhibition, an "Award of Excellence" from George Tice, selection for publication as an International competition winner by Brian Paul Clamp, and an "Honorable Mention" in an international exhibition from Elisabeth Sussman. I am most inspired by the ordinary beauty and humanity in our everyday lives. I believe our lives are enhanced thru appreciation of our environment, and especially the people in it. In turn, our existence is elevated. When making photographs I look for elegant simplicity and truth. I continually search for meaning in the world. Therefore I see my photographs as an extension of my soul engaged in the moment. I am driven to delve beneath the surface and get "inside" my subject. For this submission I have chosen images from my current project, "The Simple Life." This portfolio photographically explores the "Old Order" Mennonite and Amish culture. I am intrigued, and in many ways envious of the simplicity of their lifestyle. Thru their strong beliefs in faith, family values, friendship, and cooperation, they have continued to thrive in a mostly segregated society. Over the last century their lifestyle has seen only minimal change. In contrast, the "Outside World" has experienced rapid change, with increasing demands on technology. While the United States is currently struggling in a compromised economic climate, I feel especially compelled to learn more about the Amish and Mennonite culture, and how they have successfully preserved it. Although the Amish and Old Order Mennonites shy away from cameras,it is my intent to make candid images when possible. Working in this manner I am challenged to capture my subjects uninhibited and in their element. In contrast, occasionally I am allowed access to photograph with advance permission. I am keenly interested in learning about the culture and their beliefs. I believe knowledge and understanding will enable me to most effectively portray the true character of this ethically and morally rich culture.