Interview with Arthur Meyerson
AM: Where do you live and what do
you do for a living?
PJB: I live in Goldthwaite, Texas,
located in the Hill Country. My
doctorate is in Experimental Psychology, and I am now retired. Previously I worked at the University of New
Mexico as a Professor and then the college Dean. I retired and moved to Dubai, United Arab
Emirates as a college dean at Zayed University.
I retired (again!) in 2010.
AM: Where/when did you first
develop your interest in photography?
PJB: I've always taken photographs
as "memory" shots from the time I was young. While living in Colorado Springs, I took a
course in black and white photography using a Leica that I had. Learned to develop film and think about
lighting. I always took photographs on travels and recently scanned pictures
from trips to Egypt, Israel, India, and Hong Kong. Some of them are pretty good, but the
memories are better. I really got
interested in more serious photography when I moved to Dubai in 2004. There was so much to capture and, of course,
travel to places I never thought I'd get to that needed a more serious approach
all the art forms in the world, why photography?
painted while in high school and college, but by no means would say I'm an
artist. It was this interest, perhaps,
that led me to explore the development of spatial ability while a
professor. Back then, I didn't think of
photography as a spatial challenge until after your workshop as I continued to
mull over what you said and had us do. I
began to think of the spatial relationships you talked about: patterns, lines, curves, shadows. Photography began
to take on new meaning for
me. I was so frustrated during the
workshop that I couldn't get what I wanted, but I'm getting better.
What approach do you take to photography?
look and try to see. (I don't think they
are the same thing.) People talk about
the photographer's eye: my brother has
it, I don't. So I work at seeing. As I walk or drive, I create images and think
about what would make a compelling photograph. I look for lines, shadows,
reflections, color. I ask myself,
"Would I like it on my wall?" You
know, when I look back at my photographs from your workshop, I didn't select
the ones I should have to show.
How often do you photograph?
Not often enough, for sure. I
seem to go in cycles – many photographs, then stop to review and edit
them. I have gone on several workshops
since yours and that leads to days and days of reviewing and thinking.
Other than workshops, have you had any formal training in photography?
The course I mentioned above plus a photography 101 course. I'm going to take a course in Macro
photography in a couple of weeks. I did
an Equine Photoshop Course that was super.
What is your favorite genre of photography?
Wildlife, including birds, followed by nature in general.
What inspires you or where do you seek inspiration?
Reflections and color inspire me, along with birds and animals. I had the chance to photograph horses
outside Santa Fe and absolutely loved it.
I worked at capturing the sense of their movement, their majesty. Shadows, texture, movement were significant.
Who do you most admire (past or present) and why or who's art do you
Pretty open-ended question there, Arthur. I most admire my parents but in the public
arena, I admire Nelson Mandala. As for
art, I like Claude Monet and Winslow Homer (studied his work in college). Photographers, other than you, I like Art
Wolfe and, for his passion about endangered species, Joel Sartore. I did a workshop with Tony Sweet that almost
did me in climbing the Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico, but I like
his photography. Music: well, I'm a
Texan. I really enjoy Willie Nelson.
What is your greatest personal achievement?
Probably surviving as a college dean in two different universities. I think deans are caught in the middle between
the faculty and the upper
administration -- like the mid-point of an hour glass with the sand going both
ways. On a lesser scale, learning
Name somewhere and/or someone you'd love to photograph?
I'm not much into photographing people, but the somewhere is going back
to Zimbabwe to Mana Pools. More
realistically, I hope to go to Big Bend National Park.
you have a favorite photography book?
I'm a book collector and like those that make me think, but I especially
like The Photographer's Eye by
What do you collect?
Other than books, art, sculpture, and jewelry from my travel, national
and international. All over my house; I
need more walls.
What is your most valuable possession?
like to think all my material possessions are valuable, but to single one out,
I'd pick a porcelain plate given to me by Sensei Manji Inoue, who is a Japanese
Living Treasure. It's not the most
expensive possession, but it certainly has a story and memories.
you were to invite 1-5 personalities for a dinner conversation, who would they
I'd invite Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama with
Barack Obama. I would cook. What I fantastic conversation that would be!
Aside from photography, what is your favorite pastime?
Reading, anything and everything.
I also enjoy cooking, especially baking.
What camera and equipment do you use?
started in Dubai with a Nikon D40 and now have a D750. I've slowly acquired
more gear and use an Induro travel tripod with a Really Right Stuff ball
head. I bought a Nikkor 70-300mm lens
for my first safari and still rely on it a lot, but I also have a 105mm, a
50mm, and wide angle lenses.
What is/are your goals in photography?
To continue to learn and improve, to continue to enjoy.
Tell us something about yourself that we don't know.
worked with the National Geographic Society for about 10 years as the
coordinator of the New Mexico Geographic Alliance. On a lighter note, I play Candy Crush every
you have a website or some other place we can see more of your pictures?
use Smugmug as a kind of repository (TexasGal.smugmug.com); I also have a
facebook page, Peggy Blackwell Photography (https://www.facebook.com/PeggyBlackwellPhotography/) where I put whatever strikes my fancy.
I have photographs for sale on Fine Art America and Society 6
(links: http://peggy-blackwell.pixels.com/ and https://society6.com/peggyblackwell)