Galleries : The world through a wide-angle lens
Alan Brigish is a tidy man. His home, his studio and his personal presence: all tidy.
That personal quality may be the trait that has allowed him to organize a sprawling, panoramic life into a comprehensible whole. His 100,000-image collection of his photographs, for example, includes nearly 250 subjects that are neatly arranged under nine subject headings.
Mr. Brigish's attention to detail is a defining element of his photographic style, evident in the thousands of images at brigish.com. His photos have power and clarity, from Vineyard seascapes to a Buddhist monastery clinging to a mountainside in Bhutan, to his specialty - candid and portrait images of Third World people.
In spite of his voluminous collection, Mr. Brigish doesn't totally trust the tool that produces his photos.
"The camera always lies," he says. "I want the image I saw, not the image the camera captured." And to get that image, he uses image-enhancing tools such Adobe Photoshop and its relatives - for clarity, not for fakery. "I know a lot of photographers won't use Photoshop," he says. "I say 'thank God for Photoshop.' It allows me to represent the image I saw."
South African-born, Mr. Brigish, 66, lives with his wife of 44 years, Joyce, in West Tisbury. He was a successful online entrepreneur who poked, prodded, and chivvied the nascent Internet technology for nearly 40 years, well in advance of the service we use today. A former online publishing entrepreneur, he has become a documentary photographer and author, an artist and an incessant traveler.
Life changed irrevocably and unexpectedly for Mr. Brigish on September 11, 2001, when "a moment of clarity" precipitated his dramatic shift from entrepreneur to artist and humanist.
"I booked a business flight on United 93 from Newark to San Francisco for September 11," he begins. "On September 10, I changed my reservation to American Airlines for no reason other than I had a mileage plan with American. That's the only reason," he wasn't on the United flight that crashed in a field outside Shanksville, Penn. Mr. Brigish's American flight on 9/11 was rerouted to St. Louis. He spent the next four days driving a rental car back to New York.