From the time I was a young teenager I thought I was headed for a career in photography. In the summer of 1963, while still in high school, I covered the historic March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom as a photography intern for a small weekly paper in Connecticut. But after spending the following summer as a reporter and photographer for another weekly paper, I drifted into writing - and spent 23 years as a reporter, editor, and columnist, first for The Washington Post, and then for Newsday, where I shared a Pulitzer Prize for reporting. A medical writer for 17 of my years as a print journalist, I wrote 10 books on medically related subjects, and specialized in coverage of bioethics.
My passion for photography was rekindled in 1993, when I covered - and photographed, the famine in Somalia for Newsday, and a short time afterward I established A Day In Our Life, a photographic practice dedicated to providing individuals, families, corporate and editorial clients with commissioned documentary photography. Over the past decade I have produced photographic projects for clients ranging from families and bridal couples, to the New England Journal of Medicine and major pharmaceutical companies, and my photo journalism has appeared in major newspapers. Additionally, my work is included in the permanent collection of the Boston Public Library.
If I have a photographic philosophy, it can be encapsulated in an observation, and two quotes I include in my course syllabi:
The observation is that what matters most in photography is what the photographer sees – any light-tight box with a lens can capture an image;
The first quote comes from Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas, who commented during a lecture that “Far away is not a place;” we do not need to travel to the ends of the earth to do serious documentary photography – our subjects may be all around us in the unobserved moments of daily life;
And finally, there is this: We can never be objective, for all that we have been, and all that we are, is with us every moment of our lives, shaping all of our attitudes and our vision. What we can be however, what we must be, is fair. And that idea of fairness boils down to one word – honesty, the one thing that we owe our subjects.
I have only taken one photography course in my approximately 50 years as a photographer, and that was a week-long workshop with the great documentary photographer Eugene Richards at the Maine Photographic Workshops. That one week was invaluable, not because of any technique, or even philosophy that Richards taught. Rather, it was invaluable because Richards forced me to think very seriously about who I am as a photographer. I learned that I don’t have to spend a year with crack addicts, or travel to war zones to produce significant work. What I provide families, and wedding clients, is invaluable to them. And that is profoundly important.
Finally, I have created and teach a popular course called Documentary Photography/Photo Journalism: Still Images In A World In Motion, at both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard University Extension School. I have also taught a course called "A Day In Our Life" at the Maine Photographic Workshops.
Welcome to A Day In Our Life. Take a few moments to allow these introductory images to cycle through. When you have seen them all, you will have seen what I see - and how I see it.