My grandfather, Louis Wise, founded a scrap metal business after WWII called Wise Metals in Baltimore. He died of a heart attack when my mom was 15 and the business was sold. In a cosmic way, Louis passed his love of metal on to me as I am drawn to the gritty world of industrial photography, where docu-realism meets fashion, interiors, and ordinary people in their every day.
My first visit to Cuba was in 2011. I was invited to screen my documentary “Poster Girl,” as part of a global film exchange with MoMA. While there, I seized an opportunity to scout for a producer. I remember greeting an old woman who invited me into her home, which was crumbling from the inside out. Yet. between the cracks were stories of people living in abundance before the Cuban Revolution. When I returned in 2018, it seemed little had changed. At the home of one of the musicians I was filming for a documentary, i felt nothing but a warmth and joy. It didn’t matter there was no mechanism to flush the toilet. They had a piano, congas, heart and soul, and each other.
While on a photo shoot for Weber Metals based in Southern California, I discovered many of their workers were related. Two generations, even three generations - all proudly working for the same company. One of the workers told me a story about a time he was flying on a plane. He turned to his wife who sat next to the window, and said “I helped make that window”.
I shoot corporate / lifestyle stuff too. I love finding interesting ways to bring out the personality of people at work. The woman coder photo, for example, was someone who was just working away on her computer and smiling politely for the camera. I asked her to take out a legal pad and describe who she is. I noticed she she smiled a little bigger after that.