I've always taken pictures. What led me to do something more with photography, though, was my day job with the USG. I tend to see the potential of things ... which drives most managers to distraction. My last innovative effort—the larger and more successful it got, the more it aggravated my bosses, until finally they squashed it. Having invested so much, I was crushed. But, in due course, my frustration morphed into the birth of my photography as a serious sideline. Four years ago, I acquired my first pro-level underwater kit and from there, it has been a wild ride on the Far Side. Putting my creative juices back to work has brought back balance. It has evolved into a labor of love I could never have foreseen.
2). It seems you are very inspired by nature—sea life especially. What draws you to the ocean? And do you have a favorite undersea local to shoot? Growing up on a New England dairy farm, I was not ocean-oriented. What first drew me was not the ocean's life I have since come to appreciate. Rather, during a work trip to Israel I was visiting some Roman ruins that extended into the sea. Curious to see more, I rented snorkeling gear only to find it useless with the chop and depth. I resolved that I would learn to dive. Upon return, I called a friend who agreed to join me for scuba lessons. I've yet to circle back to that spot, but the journey since has been splendid. Beneath the waves, I have beheld some of the most magnificent wilderness on this planet ... seas not of vast emptiness, but full of sentient life. There is so very much yet to learn about that life! Yet, I want others to glimpse that life and understand how its fate is intertwined with our own fate, and subject to the choices we make.
My favorite is whatever locale I am at. I can spend entire dives on a table-size patch of reef. There, like Russian nesting dolls, you find life within life, within life. The slower you go, the closer you look, the more you see.
3). What three words would you use to describe your photography?
See life's unity.
Let me go beyond the three words, for it isn't just the amazing adaptations and relationships among reef creatures. We evolved from the sea; our bodies contain so many vestiges of our marine origins. The same ancient genetic toolkit that instructed the making of sponges and fish and marine worms, later made fruit flies, housecats, and human beings. See this unity in the fossil record, see it in our genes, in our embryonic development. See it too in the curious, cautious eyes of a cuttlefish or grouper looking into your own, in that exquisite fleeting moment of mutual regard. My favored pieces are those that somehow convey this profound unity.
4). Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven't already?
[I] would love to swim with palegics, such as whales, mantas and whale sharks, but I have not yet tired of giving the most odd and ordinary of critters a day in the sun.
5). Where can we find your craft outside the Ballston Arts & Crafts Market?
I am local and in the phone book. Folks can see my photographs on line at http://photobucket.com/, search term gfandac, although I ask anyone interested to then contact me directly. I also do a few fall Arts & Crafts shows: South Run Rec Center October 24-25, the Northern VA Handcrafter's Show in Vienna Thanksgiving Weekend, the Fairfax Arts and Crafts Show November 21 & 22, and the McLean Holiday craft show December 4-6.
Extra-bonus question: Quick! What’s in your pockets right now?
Chapstick, alas, always!