Since the turn of the 21st century a growing movement in photography have embraced hand-crafted images, ranging from traditional silver prints to 19th century media such as platinum, palladium, collodion, daguerreotype, and gum printing. In each case, the final print medium is carefully considered for its appropriateness to the artist’s intent. Further choices of lens, film type, and camera are equally important parts of the creative process.
These trends are growing despite a massive change to digital technologies within contemporary photographic practice. I am critiquing this trend in my artwork by drawing historical parallels to this period of technological expansion; meant as a polemic on the trend of quickly adopting technologies and the resulting shifts in artistic practice and the relationships to our materials. Should this be considered “normal” social/cultural progress? My work embraces the Pictorialist period for inspiration and methodology, but not subject matter. I’ve concluded I prefer my art employ the medium of photography, rather than a digital technology. I want something I can manipulate and coax a chemical performance from… directed primarily by my intentions and desires for the image, and not a software program controlling the recording of light “data.” With the alleged demise of indexical recording (photographic truth), could there be a better time for a return to allegory and symbolism? Using antiquarian optical tools — specifically soft-focus lenses in combination with a historic printing process, I’m interested in exploring both personal “equivalents” (as crafted by Alfred Steiglitz and Minor White).
My current work begins with landscapes that resemble drawings as much as photographs. I’m happy to reconsider that which photography’s inventor, Sir William Henry Fox-Talbot, termed “photogenic drawing” and look at my compositions with an eye towards the line qualities within each.
I’m creating content that is a balancing act between known and unknown forms, primarily trees and forest-scapes. I’m looking at the subject for gestural qualities and employ focusing techniques with antiquarian optics designed for portraiture that allow for both soft and sharp details, hoping to create a new experience for the viewer. My goal is to give the viewer a minimalistic understanding what is being viewed, but simultaneously introducing a perplexing space that evokes mystery.
Underlying all my imagery is a sense of maturation and aging, a self-portrait of my perspective that looks to natural forms for metaphors of the human life cycle. Most of the images are references to my own life – trials, tribulations, relationships, loss, and the notion that we are all organisms seeking light and survival.