“The limitations in one’s photographic vision are in oneself, for what we see is what we are.” -Ernst Haas
The quote by photographer, Ernst Haas resonates with me. Perhaps that’s why photography has fascinated me ever since I was given my first camera, a Brownie Hawkeye, when I was around 4 years old. In the decades that followed, aside from a few classes, I never actually acquired formal training in photography. I became a painter instead and subsequently did my graduate work in sculpture and filmmaking, always searching for the medium that could best express my vision of the world. To better understand the photographic medium, I took a job in the dark room labs of a large Chicago photo printing company, where some of the most creative photographers had their images processed, toned and enlarged for exhibits and clients. It was magical, and ultimately, the pull of the latent image took hold. Since the emergence of digital photography, with the creative potential its software has brought to the medium, I feel a similar sense of anticipation editing a raw image that I had when applying paint to a canvas.
An inspiring photograph, for me, is like a psychic capacitor. To gaze upon the image, you can feel an electric pulse surging through your eyes. I envision the medium as inherently a portal that frames, isolates or reveals, with the potential of adding a new dimension to a subject; a “wormhole” through which both the photographer and a viewer have the willingness to pass easily between reality and fantasy.
I've never been a strict disciplinarian, and though there are a number of elements that may be common to my photo-based work, my images don't fit neatly into any one category. The way I approach a subject is very intuitive, I've never consciously worked to develop a style. I surrender to everything. It’s more about the act of self-discovery than consciously embodying a concept or theme. My “style” is open-ended and remains fluid: Architectural elements, the landscape of the face, subjects re-constituted by light and shadow, composites of unlikely visual relationships that may resemble a painted image bearing little resemblance to a photograph.
Capturing images is like gathering evidence, finding components that might otherwise remain invisible in the frame, and presenting them as expressive images. I imagine the subject in my lens is a facade, and my role is to reveal what is hidden, and when possible, an opportunity to re-interpret the image at the service of my imagination. I take great joy in witnessing that metamorphosis and magically seeing it for the first time.