Photographs are like windows looking out to an event that occurred at a moment in time. In other words, a photograph is evidence of something a photographer saw. I am a photographer in this sense. But photography as described above is the starting place for my artwork. When I compose an image I see the way appearances form a scene in the viewfinder, but I also visualize how that image could tell a story when subjects are placed in relationship to other images. Part of my creative process is juxtaposing images in order to express ideas, tell stories, and ask questions in visually poetic ways.
In addition to the camera, I am interested in using other tools for image making. Light is the most important tool and the camera allows me to shape and control the presentation of light. Yet razor blades, X-acto knives, and transparent tape are also tools I need to craft my images. With these tools I can physically reconfigure and juxtapose images as the elements of a visual language. Manipulating images by arranging their proximity to one another within a frame can create an image that speaks more eloquently than its parts could individually.
Hand craftsmanship is at the center of my process. I use my hands to solve the artistic problems inherent in of bringing to an idea to form. I like to touch, sculpt, and compose photographic negatives (transparencies) and other physical materials into a final composite image.
There can also be a digital component to my process. I may start with a digital capture, then print a large format negative from the file. Sometimes I scan the final composition to end up with a digital image. But none of my photos are composed or composited in Photoshop. The Photoshop image will never, as Misha Gordin points out, “have the imperfections that makes it alive.” There is evidence of the human touch in the creative process of the crafted image. For my photography that skillful, exacting touch is an essential element in my compositions. That physical human contact instills life experience into the ideas I want to express.
One of the topics of my photography is about my understanding of light and the mysterious way light displays appearances. I use photography to explore, tell stories, to poetically express with images the mystery of light and appearances. I am fundamentally curious about the way we experience all the things we see. It seems fascinating that we perceive and find meaning through the countless variations of colors and in the play of light and shadow on infinite forms. We somehow absorb what we perceive by consuming light impressions while the mind attaches preferences, opinions, and concrete determinations.
We experience appearances with all our senses. But what most appeals to me is how the eyes and the mind work together to capture and collect appearances. Appearances are stored as images attached to experiences. Those experiences are then, like photos put in an album, committed to memory as information/images. In some ways we are like subjective cameras. Our minds habitually transform, transmute, and recreate everything we see during the process of storing memories. I have heard that we naturally alter the way we see so our experiences will support our beliefs, our individual ways of seeing the world.
Ultimately I want to understand more about the mystery of appearances and the relationship perception has with appearances. As an artist, this topic inspires me to investigate and explore my own relationship to perception and the way it influences my understanding of the world. Because I have an appreciation for visual complexity, I want to translate my ideas into beautifully complex, poetic images. I sense that craftsmanship and content can lead me closer to some recognition of appearances, not as I perceive them, but as they really are.