Small World  An early childhood narrative set close to home  It is said that some of the most important work a photographer can do is to turn the camera on their own lives. In the early part of my career, while servicing clients, I didn’t take the necessary time to make many personal family pictures, nor did it seem pressing, as it appeared as though my children’s childhood would last forever. Now that my children have their own children, and the passing of time is very much more apparent, the impulse to document these young lives has become significant to me.  While not always literally in their own homes, we’re almost always at a home away from home. Whether they are visiting me or I am visiting them, we are always close to home. I know them intimately, and as a grandfather I’m trusted and able to get close. The necessary ingredients for any photo essay are present - access and acceptance. The camera has been around the children for most of their lives and they ignore it while the very serious business of play unfolds, and the mystery of make-believe prevails. The images are candid and made of unremarkable moments in everyday life, never staged. I watch, observe, and on occasion, the gestures, shapes and forms are arranged in a moment, and a picture is gifted to me to record. An unrecoverable fleeting moment in time.  Besides the narrative and the legacy, this work is, for me, a small antidote to the bad news and tidings that flow ceaselessly out of daily news broadcasts. The world seems to be going through a very difficult time now, politically, socially, economically, and with regard to the environment. While I sincerely respect those that bring us documentary photographs of the social issues of our time, I am compelled to record a little poetic and romantic story, a notion that all is well in my small world. To cast my gaze at the joy, trust, and soaring spirits of these unfolding young lives. To show that the affinity and love of family can provide hope and courage, and induce a positive feeling. Happiness is as profound as sadness. The work is not only cathartic, but a dedication and tribute to everyone in these pictures.To all children.  It is important that the images maintain a lasting artistic integrity, not concerned with fashion and passing trends. An authentic attempt to look at the world through the children rather than at the children. The images deal with a commonality that Is at our core, an inner life, that crosses cultural and generational boundaries. No matter where in the world you are, no matter how old you may be, we can all relate to our own childhood, the joys and challenges. The images hold up a mirror to show us that we are all more similar to one another than we are different. Part of each one of us is still the child that we once were, and my hope is that we can see or feel something of ourselves in these pictures.  For each of the children, when looking back on these photographs sometime in the future, the photographs should remind them of, and reinforce, the sense of belonging to a family nest with its warm and reliable relationships.  FG
       
     
 Below is an interview published by Shutr Magazine (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) in conjunction with a feature on the photographs, titled Affinity.   How did you come up with the ideas to photograph your 'Affinity' series?   I didn’t have the idea ahead of time and then set out to make pictures for my Affinity series. It was more a case of having accumulated a fairly large number of pictures over time and retroactively recognizing that there was this common thread running through them all    - Can you elaborate on the specific way you photographed the people and what kind of tools you used?   Each is different in both my approach and the tools I used. There is no ‘one size fits all’ way of working to my approach with this series. People are different and the situation is different each time. Mostly, I have a camera with me all the time and I pounce on candid moments while just being with people, as I see a potential picture beginning to unfold, I try to ‘snap’ the moment. It is unrehearsed. At other times, I might steer or direct people. These days, I very seldom setup or stage a portrait.  Regarding the tools, I have tried so many different cameras looking for the ideal one which either doesn’t exist or is unaffordable. I was using a film camera, then a full frame dslr, then I tried a fixed lens aps sensor, then a m43, and now i have a full frame mirrorless. I have even used a phone camera. But the point I’d like to emphasize is that it doesn’t matter too much. Whatever is comfortable and convenient for you.    - What do you actually want to depict with these images, what do you want to show?   I want to depict the connection between people in a positive way. I wake up every morning and there’s more bad news that upsets me. The word seems to be going through a very difficult time right now politically, socially, economically and the environment. I feel that showing the affinity and love people can have for one another is an antidote, and gives me and others hope, courage and a good feeling about being human.    - What attracted you to create such an intimate portrait of these people and how did you combine the right subjects?   It’s simply what I see. At least it is what I want to see. When I can, I grab the moment as it happens. I don’t say, can you do that again for me please . These are real people not models, so I didn’t ‘put them together’. I simply want to pick a moment that feels like a high point. A point of connection, that shows the affinity they have for one another. It’s important to me that the images are authentic. There’s a famous quote, which I believe is credited to Martin Buber, that “we do not see things as they are, we see things as we are”.    - Was there anything specific you were looking for regarding the relationship between these people?   Affinity, intimacy, love, connection, bond, togetherness.    - Is there a certain feeling you want to cause with these images?   In my opinion, this is the most important thing. To have a good relationship with someone, or with many people, is what gets us through our difficult times. It is for these kind of pictures to appear frivolous, even ‘cheesy’, but I think they’re important, so I take them seriously, and work hard at making them.  Remember, it is not only the gesture that we are talking about which makes a picture, but also the other visual elements - light, line, composition, tone which contribute to conveying the narrative or feeling.   Do you have a message with your series - a specific way people should look at it?   Look around you and see it in your own life. At home with family, with friends, and out in the world. Notice it. Embrace it. Let it warm your heart. We all need positive feelings and mood.    - What does the future hold for you?   Hopefully these will be important pictures for the subjects to look back on in 20 years. A wonderful memory. Even a treasure for the generations. I hope that the images also maintain a lasting artistic integrity, because they are not concerned with fashion and passing trends. They deal with what is at our core, an ‘inner life’, and that crosses cultural, generational, and boundaries of time. I hope to continue doing this forever.     Inquiry
       
     
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 Detritus and Design details on the street.  Traces of human activity.  Places where an implied narrative took place.
       
     
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 Archived early works on film.