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136 pages; 92 (4)color photos; 7.5” (h) x 9” (w); softcover; $17.50

When I travel, I photograph whatever crosses my path that I find visually interesting, including bathrooms. One night, I was making a presentation and included about ten of my bathroom photos. Without any forethought, I said to the group, “Someone should do a book of bathroom photos.” And then I caught myself, almost mid-sentence. “You know, now that I think of it, that could be me. How many of you might buy a book like that?” I asked. Lots of hands went up. I went home that evening and anxiously searched on Amazon. I didn’t find any books that looked anything like what I envisioned. I was on my way. That was in early 2012. In 2014, FLUSH was published.

I wouldn’t say I ever had a particular interest in bathrooms. But I did develop an interest in unusual or historic ones…to me, they are great visual subject matter, and rarely explored. In the course of taking pictures, I began to learn a bit about bathroom history; the more I learned, the more fascinated I became. Because the subject is something of a taboo, few people know anything about bathrooms, or give them much thought.

23…and some foreign countries, too.

People with unusual bathrooms are—no surprise—proud of them and delighted when someone is a serious admirer. The few rejections I suffered were from companies that had a restrictive policy about any photography on premises.

Absolutely. Hollywood has its sequels, why not FLUSH No.2? Be specific as to location and description…and you must send a snapshot.  If the bathroom you recommend is included in my next book, you will get a free autographed copies of FLUSH and FLUSH No.2.

Every aspect of the process completely absorbed me. Refining the concept. Seeking out locations. Taking pictures. Writing text. Leaning more about bathrooms. Designing the book.

Too many to mention. But the picture that perhaps will most stay in my mind was of the bath house, taken from the ocean perspective. It was done in late fall when the ocean water was cold and I had an extremely rare camera malfunction, so I was struggling with that while in the water. The fishermen on shore who saw me were amused, I’m sure.

I love Canon cameras and lenses. That said, photos are fundamentally about one’s vision, not equipment. The important thing is to be intimately familiar with your gear so you can work quickly. Bathrooms exist for customers, not photographers, so I often didn't have much time to shoot. An intimate knowledge of how to use flash—particularly blending flash and ambient light to create a natural look—was essential for producing most of these pictures.

Every book has been its own distinct adventure, but each one generates an intensity and excitement that is, in equal measure stress and exuberance. Exploring interesting subjects in depth with my camera brings me far more satisfaction than creating individual images.

I never much liked practicing law but it took me a decade to build up my courage to move in a new direction. When I changed careers, it was abrupt. A door opened, and I raced through it. There was no getting around the reality that my extensive education and ten years of practicing law was virtually no help to me as a photographer.  I have loved being a photographer, but must confess that while I’m proud of FLUSH, working intimately with bathrooms carries a social stigma.  That’s surely part of the reason that advances in toilet/bathroom technology have been so modest and erratic…and why I haven’t broadcast to my former legal colleagues that I’ve been spending much of my time photographing bathrooms.

I’m much more conscious of bathrooms now. Seeing what some people have done with their bathrooms has amazed and delighted me. I’ve also been struck by how slow technological change has come to bathrooms. It’s a thrill to see and hear about new efforts being made to improve bathrooms (and extend access to them) all over the world. But it seems the obstacles to more effective human waste disposal are as much cultural as technological.

Opening the door to some of the bathrooms in the book just made me gasp. I often thought: I’m so glad I have a camera, because I could never describe this for anyone. But the biggest “aha” moment came when I was looking in a book and saw an ad for bathroom fixtures from the 1920s. The illustration of the bathroom looked just like my bathroom. It seemed like time had stopped for a century.