It was an experience that was exceptional. People frequently ask what it was like and it truly was inspiring. Sometimes during his lifetime, people would try and put him on a pedestal and that's not where he wanted to be, but he was really a great individual.
When I teach and meet a class for the first time, you realize that there are people there that have exceptional abilities or have the potential to do exceptional things and you never know who those people are. My job is to provide the best information I can.
I make photographs and still make photographs of the natural environment. It's a love because that was part of my life before I was involved in photography.
I remembered seeing it and it was this metallic turbine and I thought it was beautiful. I had never been in a power plant before, but I felt, without being overly dramatic, compelled to make photographs of this for myself.
In my mind I needed a symbol of today's technology, and I realized that what I wanted to photograph was the Space Shuttle. And so that's where Places of Power came into being.
One of the workshop participants had shown me a single 8 X 10 photograph of a power plant where he actually was the general manager of this power cooperative. It was quite magical to me.
The first day at the power plant I found myself photographing some steam vents on the roof of the structure. And I remember consciously thinking that they were just like trees but they were metal.
And then as I frequently do, some times I'll peek out from underneath the focusing cloth and just look around the edges of the frame that I'm not seeing, see if there's something that should be adjusted in terms of changing the camera position.
I've found even after nearly 30 years of doing this, there are all kinds of new surprises that rear their heads at various times and I truly believe that 51% of the images, success takes place in the darkroom.
Having photographed the landscape for a number of years and specifically working with trees and in the forest I found, without consciously thinking about it, that it was a great learning experience for me in terms of organizing elements.
I took a workshop from him a few months after that. That experience changed my whole approach to photography. At that workshop in Yosemite in 1973 I decided I wanted to try and see if I could pursue this for myself, and I'm still trying.
The reason I do workshops is so I can learn, and I am fortunate that I've probably gained more from the whole experience of teaching than any one participant has. It is all about asking.
It was amazing to watch him in the darkroom at an advanced age, still get excited when the results were pleasing. He still struggled like we all do in the darkroom and he struggled behind the camera, and when he had a success he was beaming.
Today my passion is still black and white. Today if I have an array of cameras in front of me the one I would reach for that I would feel most comfortable with would be a 4 X 5 View camera. I was once working in a sort of soft light situation.
I think the greatest photographers are the amateur photographers who do it because they love it. Arnold Newman is a good example; he is a consummate professional, but he's also an 'amateur' in the pure sense of the word.