A Way of Looking (Photographs)

For several years in the 1980s, and occasionally thereafter, I collected photographs. This site considers some of these images. Although I do possess some color photographs, I shall limit myself here to those in black and white. My goal is to examine the ways in which the world can been perceived through a camera. Four different essays are presented. These can be accessed by clicking on their titles:


Images in Time

Photographs, more than any other art form, have a special relationship to time. Captured in a brief moment, they comment on times that last much longer. The first image to be discussed is Lee Friedlander’s Kyoto, 1981.


Elective Affinities

Each photograph presents the world from a specific point of view. This essay brings together photographs that are similar in form though  different in detail to see how they interact. Goethe used the same technique with his characters in his 1809 novel, Elective Affinities. The first pairing considers landscapes by Brett Weston and by Mario Giacomelli.



Though very young in the long history of art, photography sensitively relates to and extends themes that have engaged the visual arts for centuries. This essay will begin with some connections between the photographs of Aaron Siskind and the paintings of Franz Kline.



Most of my photographs will soon be donated to the Ryerson Image Centre for display, teaching, and research. I have lived with most of them for four decades. I shall miss them. And so I bid a fond farewell to my friends. I begin with Robert Mapplethorpe’s photograph of Thomas, 1986.


Clicking on the images in this page and in the essays will enlarge the image and present it in a separate window. I have tried to use reasonably high-resolution images but even these will fail to show the detail and intensity of the originals.

The banner image at the top of this page represents Geoffrey James’ photograph Etruscan Road, Veio, 1989. In the centuries before the Romans came to power, the Etruscans built their cities in the regions of Italy to the northwest of Rome. The passages that they cut through the hilly land have persisted until the present. The photograph shows one of their roads curving upward from the shadows into sunlight. An enlargement of the dappled sunlight in the center of the photograph is shown below.