About Phillip and his photography
I fell on my head when I was four years old. 12 feet. Head first. Concrete. 1947. I did it again when I was 12 (1955), slipping and falling head-first onto the blade of a grubhoe. Onto my sinus bone, just below my left eye. Fortunately. I did it again just the other day -- April 26, 2022 -- now that I'm 78. Fell, hit my head, just above my right eye. Nice shiner. But who knows the consequences?
I have been capturing images for nearly fifty years, beginning with my time in West Africa with the Peace Corps. I became enthralled with the process of focusing light and fixing images on light-sensitive materials; of “capturing the moment.” Largely self-taught, I have received guidance from a number of artist friends and I have studied the work of some of the great photographers, with particular attention to the great street photographers (Atget, Brassai, Brandt, Cartier-Bresson, Evans, Hine, Koudelko, Lang, Smith and Winogrand) and art photographers (Steiglitz, Steichen) and the documentary work produced under Roy Stryker at the Farm Security Administration and the documentation of Pittsburgh’s Renaissance in the 1950’s. I have also been strongly influenced by the boisterous creativity of the revolutionary painters of the early 20th century – impressionism, cubism, surrealism and Dadaism – as they responded to the explosive urban-industrialism and pushed the envelope of art and seeing.
In the early 1970’s, I was among the early members of the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Association where I learned darkroom techniques and the basics of studio lighting. In late 1972, I staged a performance of my slide-movie, “Push.” I subsequently moved to super 8 motion picture film and made several films in the medium, including “How to Beautify the Ghetto,” a short film with a modicum of corporate sponsorship that was made to benefit the Homewood-Brushton Neighborhood Association in Pittsburgh.
Beginning in the late 1970’s and for the next 30-odd years, I devoted my energies to my career in social research. Beginning in 2003, however, I had the opportunity to devote more attention to my photography, doing commercial photography for a small hand-crafted soap enterprise. That experience quickly re-kindled my interest in street photography and with the help of a friend who gave me a copy of popular editing software, an avenue to pursue my idiosyncratic art photography.
While I do capture traditional landscape and portrait images, my signature works are along three interrelated tracks. The first is traditional street photography, seeking to capture the emotions and art of the gritty everyday life in the urban landscape. The second explores the complexities of the multi-layer information overload of the multi-faceted, fast-paced urban environments, especially through window reflections and photo montage. The third, is a fascination with the "little things" in life that are often overlooked. Details. Captured clearly. Or not.
I currently reside in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Whitman College, BA, Political Science
University of Pittsburgh, MA, Sociology