I was just barely twenty when I discovered Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation. Like many others at that age I was blown away and quickly began to consume as much of their writing as I could get my hands on. I was about halfway through The Dharma Bums when I became so moved by what I was reading that I put down the book and typed a letter to Allen Ginsberg asking if we could meet. It was not a novel idea but at the time I felt like I had to try. Like many people before me I had felt an uncontrollable urge to connect with someone that seemed to be speaking directly to my soul. A week later I missed a phone call from him but soon found a postcard in my mailbox with a proposed meeting date. We met in the summer of 1996 at his Rinpoche's house in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where we discussed poetry and the photography of Robert Frank. Since that encounter, from time to time, I reach out to individuals that inspire me, either artistically, or by expanding my understanding of the world. As a photographer, I sometimes think of myself as a collector, and ultimately these portraits are just another collection. A collection of people that influence me and who have each, in their own unique way, illuminated some dark corner of our collective conscious.