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Beginning of Life, Part II

After seven years of photographing during every spare minute from Alaska to the west and southwest of America I had five images I loved but not the inspiration that would set me on a course to create a unique body of work.

Then one day in 1981 I was driving into Boston on the Mass Pike and saw a large valley filled with silver trees just beginning to show a haze of color from the buds of springtime.

I felt a physical reaction and a certainty that I had to photograph the view although it meant sitting on the guardrail a few feet from morning rush hour traffic.

What was so special? I could get close to the tree canopy because the road was elevated by the fill to level the highway made when the Pike was constructed. And there was no ordinary subject: the entire valley was the subject and it might have extended to infinity for all I knew. But it changed me. I now knew what to look for.

Early Buds on Maple Trees I


Beginning of Life, Part I

My life continues to have beginnings, so it is not surprising to begin in the middle and then back-track, although there were other beginnings (please see my biography).

It was 1964. I was in the middle of my MS degree in solid state physics at MIT and on academicc probation. I managed to finish with no less than a C but I hated what I was doing. The sound of great music was my love. My work as an audiophile in the 1950s had gotten me into MIT. I was almost an audio engineer before becoming a freshman.

I was walking down a hall at MIT in the WW II barraks building known as Building 20. I had tried to climb the modern tech ladder and it wasn’t working. “Why don’t you do what you love?” I thought and my life changed. It's called an ephiny. How to make the change took another second. There was one professor working on sound and music and that was Amar G. Bose and so I knocked on his door.

We chatted for a few minutes and then he took me to his lab and I knew I was home. We worked together for about 25 years and remained friends until he passed away. But he gave me my life.

My life became in one way or another centered on the visual and musical arts. At some point in the middle of my careers as engineer, marketing manager, landscape photographer and printer and although photographs of the landscape were by far the greater part of my work, the forces came together and I created art inspired by the beauty of musical instruments. The image below is called Quantum Entanglement for Six French Horns.turned into transparent outlines. Please visit the galleries for more images.

Quantum Entanglement for Eight Horns

However, my principle body of work was the natural landscape. Twenty thousand sheets of 4 by 5 film and a view camera on my back. Please click on the "Chronicle" link above for a short ABC TV view of what I was doing. The featured image is Spring Sunrise I a view of the tree canopy from the entrance ramp to Interstate 90. I had visited dozens of times at sunrise but this mist had never happened before. After ditching my car under the overpass I climbed the hill to reach the entrance ramp. My only throught was “don’t screw it up.” I shot for about 45 minutes until the sun burned off the mist. Out of a couple of dozen shots the mist was just right in two of them. The dye transfer print version sold out its edition.

JW 0037

My father expected the impossible which led me to think I could change the world. For decades I live a life of working with and enjoying music and nature. But enjoyment is the wrong word. What nourishes the soul is what it was and now each day becomes one of greater sadness than the day before until I plummet as far down as I can go until Susan, my wife and music and love save me for one more day.

Each day I am preoccupied with humanity’s failure to go beyond politics, money and power. Have you ever heard a politician talk about creating a country where the joy of life for everyone was the goal. Rather we now have an extra billion dollers become the measure of life. I was taught, first by my father, and then at MIT to solve problems but this reminds me of my father telling me I could break the law of the conservation of energy.

The greatest creation in the universe sits on our shoulders, but we are failing.

For myself the best answer is the image above plus te two below. My family and one of my photographs, made during my 28 years with a view camera on my back. The first was made on an entrance ramp to the intersstate highway that goes from Seattle to Boston. The second is me with my wife Susan and our adopted son, Gregory. Adopted from an orphanage not far from the war in Ukrane. The contrast in my mind trys to crush my soul.

Not yet. I am still writing and creating.

Greg Original Polaroid Zhenya
Greg Susan John001
GREG NO  1 2015 09 09


After 28 years of working with my view camera I was photographing along the coast north of Acadia National Park when I decided to drive inland looking for something new. What I had not realized is that my creative energies were running out and I needed something different and in a few hours of driving nothing new appeared and I headed home.

However, there was still work to do to finish my second book The Illuminated Walden and when this was done I put the view camera away and have not used it since.

Soon after Sony came out with an affordable (about $3000) digital camera and I went looking for subjects and found some stunning mums at the local garden center. Eventually that led to the melanges.

Spring Flowers


While we were still making dye transfer prints the vice-president of sales at Bose asked me if we could make some prints for sale in Bose stores and so I contracted with a studio photographer to make high quality photographs of musical instruments.

When it became possible to digitize these transparencies with very high resolution I began to play (pun intended) with them using an early version of Photoshop. Not long after Agfa stopped making the materials for EverColor prints putting EverColor out of business leaving me without a job.

Our digital printing master, Mark Doyle took over our space and started Autum Color Digital Imaging. However, I had purhased the drum scanner with my own funds and took that home, digitized the music intrument images and began to play with them. The result was LightSongs a body of digitally created work.

Spring Flowers
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