Tybee Island, GA, circa 1966

North Tybee Island

The north end of Tybee Island, at the mouth of the Savannah River, is a very user-friendly place these days, with a parking lot and food service in the summer, plus sandy beaches. In the 1960’s, before beach re-nourishment programs, jetties were used to try to retard erosion. Beach-goers did not go to north Tybee back then; the rusted jetties were ugly and dangerous to swim around. That made it the perfect trysting place for my best friend and his girl when we were finishing up high school (Jenkins HS, Class of 1965). It was a moody atmosphere, with lots of privacy. There was a section of an old sea wall still standing which made a wind-sheltered snuggling place. They called it “Summer Place,” I’m pretty sure referencing the Sandra Dee/Troy Donahue movie, “A Summer Place.” Nothing so attractive as the forbidden. Whether or not Bobby and Joanne did anything more than petting, and only on top of clothes, I do not know, did not know. But I took this young woman I was enamored of to this special place in the hopes something in the air would inspire some of the same amorous notions in her for me. Alas, no, although I suppose it did work in a way. She was also enamored of Bobby.

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Venice, Italy, 1998

Waiter, Saint Mark’s Plaza

Every time my wife sees this photograph she tells me how handsome this guy is. Every time. We were hanging out in Venice for a few days, after leading a workshop in Tuscany, and having some lunch at one of the cafes that surround San Marco. I was playing with some Black & White slide film Kodak was considering marketing which they had shared with some of us to test. He was serving us lunch and I asked him if I could take his picture; he immediately struck this pose. I do like his jacket.

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Weston Beach, Point Lobos, CA, 2022

Carmel, CA, USA Point Lobos State Preserve

It’s a pilgrimage I make whenever I can, to Point Lobos. I think I’ve done it now 4 or 5 times. It is a weather, wind, and water tortured stretch of Pacific coast just below Carmel, CA, beautiful in its severities and contortions. One of my Top Five Photographers Ever is Edward Weston, a complicated man, but an inspiring photographer to me during my professional adolescence. For much of his later life he lived in Carmel, photographing often in the Point Lobos area, the tidal pools, beach and rock erosions, twisted tree bark that looks like it was painted by Van Gogh. This shot is from Weston Beach, part of a new Weston Beach Gallery on my website. While in Carmel I also got to stop by the Weston Gallery and geek out talking with the director Richard Gadd, looking at vintage prints from Imogene Cunningham, Brett Weston, Wynn Bullock. Thank you so much, Richard.

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Sapa, Vietnam, 2011

2/20/2011, Sapa down to Cat Cat village

We took what must have been a French-era train, overnight, from Hanoi up to Sapa in the northwest highlands of Vietnam; our cabins were mostly bare except for two sets of bunk beds. One of the “trekkers” on our photo trip had bought a bottle of rice wine, which was mainly interesting because inside the bottle was a coiled cobra with a scorpion in his mouth. Of course with that sort of presentation, you have to at least try it. I think there were five of us standing around chatting when we opened the bottle and passed it around. Remember the days when you would pass something around for everyone to take a hit, and did not worry about shared body fluids? In this particular case, it might still be okay; the stuff was so vile it would intimidate any self-respecting germ. I can’t remember what it tasted like, because the smell was so bad even before you got it to your mouth. Being manly men of course, we finished the bottle, and slept soundly in the spartan accommodations. The next morning we arrived, checked into our hotel and at some point walked along a road cut into a hillside from the hotel to the town. A mist was rolling up from the valley on the downside of the hill, making a ghostly forest of the trees on that side of the road. The magical effect at the time may have been enhanced by residual effects of the wine.

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