Robert A. Hicks • photographer
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Biography

My interest in interpretive photography came about as a reaction to doing technical, scientific and documentary photography for many years. While an undergraduate in the Geography Department, University of California, Riverside, I studied remote sensing and photographic documentation. This work centered on testing various remote sensing devices as interpretation tools in the study of both natural and cultural phenomenon on the earth's surface. Thermal infrared (IR), color IR, passive microwave, multi-spectral and "normal" color photography were deployed from terrestrial, aircraft and space platforms in studies of plant distribution, land use, soils, snow pack, agricultural crops, landforms and urban analysis. This work led to a staff position in the Geography and Earth Science departments where I started a technical/scientific photographic documentation service catering to research projects in the natural and life sciences. I also co-directed courses in Visual Anthropology and Archaeological Artifact Photography; guest lectured in Cartography, Remote Sensing and Photographic Documentation; served as Photographic Editor for The Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology; and became accredited to teach Art, Design and Photography in California Community Colleges.

Upon moving to Northern California I was employed as a Research Associate/Graphics Specialist at Theodoratus Cultural Research (TCR), a consulting firm specializing in ethnography. Here my work was divided between cartography, still photography (aerial photography and air photo interpretation), historical documentation (dams, bridges, hydroelectric and gas generation sites) and video documentation of Native American concerns. Traditional activities, such as gathering and preparing indigenous foods and basketry materials, were recorded along with oral histories from which some fifteen video programs were produced. Most of TCR's projects required extensive remote location field work as well as archive research of historical documents and photographs.

As general partner in Field Documentation Service (FDS), I have continued working on various photographic documentation projects. Archival still photography work includes numerous Historic American Building Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER), archaeological site and artifact documentation projects. This work has been conducted throughout California and Nevada as well as in remote locations in Peru and Wake Island. Although now discontinued, since my Land Surveyor partners retired, I also worked on FDS' land surveying projects; mapping archaeological and historical sites, cadastral surveying and the preparation of maps and cartographic illustrations.
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