An audacious, mind-boggling adventure to 100 global cities in a breathtaking 100 nonstop, consecutive weeks.
“Magical Steam Train”
A nostalgic steam dream . . . chasing magical vintage steam locomotives across India.
A dream stream fine art interpretation.
Visual tease. The below five images were used to digitally create this artwork.
Steam Train, New Delhi
Steam Train, New Delhi
Grungy Canvas, Yangon
Steam Train, Siliguri
Steam Train, Jodhpur
“The smoke and the fire and the speed, the action and the sound . . . the steam engine
is the most beautiful machine ever made.” ~ O. Winston Link
Yes, chasing magical steam trains might ring visions of delight but it wasn’t an easy path to success. For decades I’ve been vagabonding across the globe scouring back alleys of distant old towns in search of grungy textures to be used as overlays in my digital fine art.
Draw from the Past . . . Leap toward the Future
I draw from design training as an architect fifty years ago followed by two decades honing my eye as a self-taught architectural photographer examining nuances of light, shape and color. And after three additional decades of almost endless vagabonding I keep harnessing new explorations of creativity unleashed along the way. Today I’m crafting fine art steam train compositions that tightly orchestrate seemingly disparate geometric elements triggering a visual sense of order when merged with photo snippets of random urban textured chaos.
Homeless by Choice
Vagabonding seeped into my blood and deep into my psyche back in the 90s when at age forty-five, reeling from a massive economic turndown, I left behind what had been a thriving architectural photography career in Los Angeles. In one bold leap toward the future I sold all my worldly possessions and began what ultimately became an extended midlife reinvention of myself as a fine art travel photographer. My very first nonstop trip (homeless by choice) lasted nine years, propelling me through more than a hundred countries and remote locales.
Vagabonding as a Lifestyle
Back then my target was to capture exquisite imagery of the world’s most famous travel icons, which have subsequently been extensively licensed by Getty Images. My relentless journey soon became a modus operandi permanently embedded deep within my soul. One day I returned to Los Angeles and remodeled a condo thinking LA might be my permanent base. But I soon bored with the city. Before long, I vowed to never live there again.
I was driven to hit the road.
Like many stock photographers back in the heyday, my lucrative gold-mine-stock-photo-hayride with Getty proved to be an ecstatic time propelling me to become one of their ten most published travel photographers of all time, a period that generated a hundred thousand publications including most of the world’s leading travel magazines, including National Geographic, not to mention the accumulation of very nice pocket change at the time.
I earned three million dollars from Getty but the mega-buck glory days didn’t last forever.
Rebirth and Reinvention
Most image contributors in the stock photo industry have taken a major financial hit in the past decade primarily due to the proliferation of imagery on the internet. And the onslaught of digital photography rapidly created a gluttonously oversaturated marketplace seemingly overnight ultimately resulting in a massive devaluation of online stock photos.
So I soon found myself yet again exploring the fine art of rebirth and reinvention.
No More Baggage
“Life is a train that stops at no stations; you either jump aboard or stand on the platform and watch as it passes.” ~ Yasmina Khadra
After being footloose for so much of my life I was never going back to seeking assignments and I declined teaching photo workshops. Freedom pulls me by the shirttail. I loathe the idea of planting myself in one spot very long and I have no emotional need for sinking permanent roots. The only baggage I allow in my life is a small camera bag, a laptop and a few changes of clothes. No car, no goldfish. Hey, deep friendships can be forged everywhere.
During past decades I sometimes lingered in exotic destinations to execute digital artwork projects requiring extensive Photoshop creations like this Steam Punk Steam Train series. Yet, the urge and the itch for fresh stimuli—the pursuit of rebellious creativity—always strikes and I quickly find myself beckoned by dreamy escapades toward distant new lands.
Most recently it was these vintage steam trains of a bygone glory era in India that set my sights ablaze. It was my thirty-eighth or forty-eighth trip to this exotic, chaotic land. I’ve lost track of how many times.
India always explodes the senses.
The renowned American social theorist, Jeremy Rifkin, once said, “The steam engine was born on the eve of the American Revolution, consummating a relationship between coal and the new Promethean spirit of the age, and humanity made its first tentative steps into an industrial way of life that would, over the next two centuries, forever change the world.”
“My heart is warm with the friends I make, and better friends I’ll not be knowing, yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take, no matter where it’s going.” ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
I haven’t decided my next destination.
Tomorrow I’ll see which way the wind and the whistle blows.
“Be like the mighty steam train; concentrate on your road and go with no hesitation!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
Watch this “Tribal Wild Steampunk Train” YouTube video of my PCEC presentation in Thailand. It depicts a visionary adventure of personal growth launched from the pit of misfortune and bankruptcy that propelled me along a self-awakened path forward. It’s a light-hearted story of struggle, missteps, reinvention, perseverance, and resilience—a trajectory rekindling impossible dreams almost buried by lessons needing to be learned. The slideshow is jam-packed with dazzling photos and concludes with an uplifting message.
Read the “Pattaya Mail” press article about this PCEC slide presentation,“Reinventing Yourself.”
Peruse my entire fine art STEAM PUNK STEAM TRAIN Series collection.
And check out this press article “A Steam Punk Steam Train Dream” featruing my fine art imagery in The Art Blog.
Read my novel, The Journey from Kamakura, which won a silver medal for “Best First Book/Fiction” in the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Literary Awards. It’s a poignant (and almost true) love story about a travel photographer roaming the globe in search of the ultimate experiences life has to offer. He becomes wildly successful but soon blows through a million bucks in a matter of weeks. Then in Bangkok, he veers toward self-destruction. In this wildly decadent city, his excessive abuse of drugs and alcohol drives him toward his weakest tendencies, propelling him into an excruciating pit of deep suffering. Eventually, he encounters a mysterious, mesmerizing oriental woman who re-ignites in him the determination to grapple with the darkest aspects of his misery and who leads him across the globe toward revelations no photograph could ever portray.
Read how I stood inches from a rancid, maggot-infested, decaying dead dog to capture a
“Blue Taj Mirage” image.
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I only use Lonely Planet guidebooks.
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