Despite being able to fake it enough to get the degrees, I’ve always been an experiential learner and disinclined to engage in research and text-based learning. When I took up photography, my approach to it was to just go shoot.
Recently, I met John T. Hill, former professor at Yale and author of numerous books of – and on – photography. After seeing some of my shots, he handed me a copy of The Hungry Eye, a book of Walker Evans’ work that John had co-authored. Of course, given my disposition – and despite Evans’ stature in the history of photography – I was unfamiliar with his work.
The experience of working through the pages of that book was identical to the experience I had in my first conversation with my business partner, Mel Toomey: it was a meeting with someone who was at work not only in the same space as I was, but with much of the same language and grammar. It was a conversation with an old and deep friend whom I had somehow forgotten, a friend from whom there was much to learn and with whom there was much to do.
Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long. (Cousin Walker)