While spending several years studying, performing, and recording gamelan with Tunas Mekar, I continued to develop my photography. Increasingly, my photograph eclipsed gamelan, and more and more I was offering my creative self to making pictures. Eventually, I started to realize that the personal and aesthetic discoveries I found in Indonesia and gamelan needed to grow into something more of my own. I enrolled in an MFA program in photography at the Massachusetts College of Art.
During these years playing with Tunas Mekar, I worked on making photographs every week if not everyday, though I never showed them to anybody. It was a very private affair. I decided it was time to know some other photographers. I went to Mass. College of Art to study with Abelardo Morell, Frank Gohlke, and Nicholas Nixon, but found just as much (if not more) from the teachers I knew nothing about before starting — Laura McPhee, Barbara Bosworth, Doug Dubois, Accra Shepp, and Lewis Klahr.
Graduate school was an uphill battle for me. It was challenging, confusing, and often painful.
I had never really shown my pictures to anybody — except my girlfriend — so entering such a competitive and public critique process was hard, to say the least.
I survived my two years, and made many discoveries in photography I never thought possible. It difficult but I dug deeply, and found out more about myself. I completed a thesis exhibition, Familiar Windows. This was a series of photographs made mostly around my home. The pictures were all photographs of windows, in some capacity or another, but the windows were often metaphors about looking inside and outside myself. It was inspired in part by James Joyce:
Diaphane, a diaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.