During 1997 and early 1998 I spent most of my Saturday afternoons camped outside of Sam's Market, a convenience store in my (then) hometown of Joshua Tree, California, where I had set up a portable studio to make formal portraits of local citizens as they stopped for milk, beer, cigarettes, and ice cream. My intent was to explore the idea that "people anywhere can stand for people everywhere," and thus serve as a metaphor for the human drama. I do believe the work is a fiction, not depicting individual lives, but showing our common humanity. Here is an excerpt from my artist's statement in 1998: In this show you will see everything from Leonardo Da'Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' to Henry David Thoreau's 'quiet desperation.' If the work succeeds, you will also see yourself."