Â My career as a photographer began while studying at Columbia College in Chicago under
the tutelage of Bob Thall, Ruth Thorne-Thomsen and Alan Cohen. These mentors helped
me develop a particular affinity for portraiture and encouraged me to explore fashion
This exploration led me to Milan and, after developing my own style, I began shooting
fashion editorials for magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire and Harper's Bazaar .
Exposure from this work brought me international recognition, resulting in fashion
advertising assignments for Bloomingdales, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York;
Matsuda/Monsieur Nicole in Tokyo; Adidas, Austin Reed and Mulberry in London;
Cacharel in Paris; and numerous other clients.
My work then segued and became more focused on advertising. I produced award-winning
campaigns for BMW, British Airways, MasterCard, Martell Cognac and the Smithsonian
Institution, among others. The awards included a Ceba for Excellence (1990),
Communication Arts Award for Excellence (1991, 1995, 1999 and 2001), the Art
Directors Club Annual Exhibition (1991), a Studio Magazine Annual Award of Excellence
(1992), and an Annual American Photography Award of Excellence (1995).
During this time, I was reintroduced to portraiture, shooting personage such as John Hurt,
Willem Dafoe and John Lee Hooker for clients including Rolling Stone, Harper's Bazaar
Â and VibeÂ magazines. Through this work I reconnected with my photographic origins and
realized that, at this point in my journey as an artist, I needed to take my work to a more
personally gratifying level. I began to explore a photojournalistic path and traveled to India
and Burkina Faso on humanitarian assignments with the non-governmental organization,
Action on Disability and Development. This is when I discovered the West African
masques. And, suddenly, with an organic force and a passionate surge of obligation, my
life changed completely. I found my true voice, my own personal work. Thus began a new
chapter in my photographic careerâ€”the masque series.
Over the next two decades, I made several expeditions to various West African countries,
researching and photographing tribal masquesâ€”mediums of the spirit worldâ€”and their
associated rituals. Based on the ancient belief system of animism, the ceremonial masques
are a tradition that has been passed down through generations. My documentation is a
portrait of a secret society, a sacred part of African heritage.
The masque photographs have been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums
including the Musée de L'Elysée in Lausanne, the Center of Photography in Woodstock,
and Charlotte Jackson Fine Art in Santa Fe. A selection of the masque series resides in the
permanent collection of the Musée de L'Eysée as well as other private collections. These
photographs have been featured in publications including The Sunday TimesÂ magazine,
Blind Spot, Good Weekend Magazine/The Sydney Morning Herald , So It Goes,Â and The Unseen
EyeÂ by Thames & Hudson, as part of William M. Hunt's photographic collection.