Beginning years ago with traditional landscape work, my photographic art has always explored natural phenomena. Even when showing the built environment, I emphasize the effects of time and weathering, obstruction of light, and decay of structures. Since 2014 I’ve worked on abstract depictions of the world.
In 2014 I completed 22 images for the Vacant Nests series. I had collected scans of birds and eggs as my pet finches died over several years and finally had enough material to work with. When Vacant Nests was finished I realized that these prints, showing close detail, were somewhat abstract.
I want to enrich the viewing experience not found in a straight depiction of known things. By abstracting, I allow images the freedom of reference and interpretation that other art forms possess. I’m searching for their ability to be seen and reacted to as artworks without knowing “what” is shown. Pictorial elements and the use of motion can resemble the use of line in painting. Very dark earthtones can be reversed into washes of white “paint.” These images show a subject’s usual manifestation in a way that is different from what we observe.
This process emerged in 2014 by considering imagery I was consistently drawn to. I made prints, studied them, and compared them. I altered some of the color values in an effort to find something new in the imagery. The result was Nothing, in the World, my first intentionally abstract work. It used existing images from my previous landscape work as source material.
The next project, Zone of Transformation, was completed in 2015 working in the Mojave Desert. The series shows a liminal environment where identity can be difficult to ascribe, in the transition zone between depiction and abstraction. This was the first time I shot deliberately to alter the images. In my ongoing work with this digital manipulation I see the importance of understanding the possibilities of digital technology but using it moderately to preserve the original natural forms.
In January 2016 I returned to the desert to create new images to continue this work. Tentatively titled Strangeness of Seeing, this desert work follows both previous series directly, but will be presented as a handmade book.
My process causes a reduction of recognition but not of complexity. It may seem confusing but chaos is, after all, natural order.
I look for ambiguity in the world as a meaningful way of considering existence. I use photography’s natural specificity to investigate the unclear meaning of the situations and objects pictured, and as a starting point for visual composition. This search through ambiguity is, paradoxically, as real as the physical things pictured.
My early work used landscape as a subject of contemplation or a metaphor for human experience, as well as for its own beauty. Over time my images have become somewhat more abstract in intent and form. From project to project, different subjects and techniques provide a slow, gradual way of working with interrelated ideas of connecting the outer world with the inner.
I make my own digital prints using fine archival materials. Technical mastery of the printing process allows me to present my images exactly as I want them.
Photography as a visual art has always had a peculiar connection to the real world–to particular subjects, locations, and times. My intention is to explore depictions of reality (worth examining because they are real) while acknowledging the mysterious relationships of what I see in the world.