In September 2009, more than eight months ago, long enough to gestate almost a whole baby for crying out loud, Aerica sent me a note about doing a session together. We met in a coffee shop sometime in the fall and I liked her immediately. She is a melange of quirks, shy and charming, creative and self-effacing, quick to smile but her laugh is very quiet. I was ready to run straight to the studio, but it was not to go that easy path. Eight months passed, while boyfriends came and went, while hair was trimmed and grew back out, while winter clouded over and broke back into spring, while camera lenses fell from my fragile fingers and splayed out on the floor. Finally, we found the right day. She lugged a box of clothes that almost dislocated her shoulders and I spread out Cotswald cheese, fresh strawberries, croissants and mango juice. This is Aerica. The set can be viewed here.
I was trained as a psychiatric social worker and worked in that field since the late 1980s. I have been practicing portrait photography since the early 1990s as well.
It has always been my experience that when practiced well, there is a remarkable resonance between these two arts. I have found that the best photographs, like the best therapy, occur when I don't talk too much, when I engage my subjects with unconditional acceptance and love, when I let go of my desire for a particular result and take my direction from the life that is presented to me.
My goal is not to record the glaring beauty that turns every head but to pause long enough that the quiet beauty, that waits almost invisible everywhere one turns, of experience, sadness, kindness, will be revealed.