I am a photographic and video artist with an especial sensitivity and mastery of studio lighting. Across the forty-five years I have photographed, the key component has always been experience – mine or from the work of others who taught me via books, exhibitions, public programs and lectures. My picture memory allowed me to fully absorb the visual history of photography. I analyzed the picture-making methods and social standards of those I admired, and respected. I have learned to see my chosen medium through the work of Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Walker Evans, Lewis Hine, Yousaf Karsh, Dorothea Lange, Irving Penn, Sebastião Salgado, August Sander, Fazal Sheikh, Victor Skrebneski and Albert Watson among many. I adopted them as my professors of photography, my mentors. From these artists, beyond all technical issues, I learned to treat my subjects as Participants and not solely as Sitters — my portrait sessions became more collaborative, more give and take. From the artist’s books, I gained the knowledge and the understanding that allowed me to begin my career in photographic portraiture. In the studio or on location, I became a master of lighting and use light to express and refine the dialogues of life in our time. My pictures can be cross-platform: black & white or color, film or digital, large format or small, still or video. I live in Chicago but photograph globally.
Beyond technique, I always address truth and candor. Accordingly, I have created serial imagery of art-historical respectful whimsey (in Malkovich the actor); formal racial Expressivism (in Black Hair); revelatory cultural access (in Bikers and Matadors); a political narrative (In Cuban Portraits); the hopes of the collective (in Cuban Athletes); tribal portraits within a hidden culture (in Papua New Guinea); improbable floating eroticism (in Dancers) and more.
My book publication list begins in 1994 and is ongoing. I would cite: AMERICAN BIKERS (1998 / SchirmerMosel), SANDRO:VERONA FIGURE E RITRATTI (2002 / Cierre Edition), IMAGINE CUBA 1999-2007 (2008 / Edizioni Charta), EL MATADOR JOSELITO: A PICTORIAL NOVEL (2009 / Edition Charta), SANDRO RAW, STEPPENWOLF (2012 / Self-Published), THE MALKOVICH SESSIONS and DANCE FOR LIFE (both 2016 / Glitterati Inc), MALKOVICH, MALKOVICH, MALKOVICH: HOMAGE TO THE PHOTOGRAPHIC MASTERS (2020 / Skira), CROWNS: MY HAIR MY SOUL MY FREEDOM (2021 / Skira), and DEATH IN THE DESERT ( 2021 / Foto Henny Hoogeveen).
A site list of museum and gallery exhibitions includes New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Zagreb, Siberia, Warsaw, Arles/France, Antwerp, Havana, Munich, Portugal, Madrid, Budapest, Istanbul and Verona. Reviews, interviews, features and essays have been published by or featured in Musée Magazine, Smithsonian, Huffington Post, Interiors, Graphis, Russian Esquire, BBC News, Stern, The New Yorker, American Photo, YES & NO, Eyemazing, ABC News, The Guardian, L’Oeil de la Photographie, Communication Art, FotoNostrum, and View Camera among others.
Because I lend my skills and my studio to charitable groups pro bono, I am known as an advocate for causes having to do with art, arts education, health, death and dying, gender, race, national origin, and homelessness. I photograph the forgotten people; those who, each day, suffer and struggle to survive. Further, I work under the intellectual and emotional spell of a location’s possibility because it can be a site of curiosity, disclosure, of theatricality or historical importance; at other times, I summon, from within my inventive control of the studio, the truths that sustain life’s persistent, vibrant oscillations. Because of Eleven books, awards and honors, gallery and museum exhibitions, I am recognized as an artist, author, documentarian, philanthropist, publisher, lecturer, teacher, humanist, and, always, a truth-teller.