"In my work I have never strived to make a perfect photograph, in fact I have embraced the imperfections and accidents in the photographic process."
I recently found this family photograph decaying in an old photo album. This image best represents my journey as an artist and musician. In many ways I think that I have always approached the medium of photography and music with the heart and soul of a painter.
Beauty: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses.
In developed western societies, women tend to be judged for their physical appearance over other qualities. The extremes that we have taken the idea of beauty has led to harmful effects on girls and women leading to a rise in eating disorders low self-esteem, rise in cosmetic surgery and depression. Growing up in a culture which does idolizes youth and physical beauty has had immense ramifications in regards to self-image and self-worth. I grew up with a plastic doll named “Barbie” as a role model. In my late teens, I could not look into a mirror without thinking that I was ugly. I remember my mother forcing me to look at my reflection in the mirror and to realize how beautiful I was. Unfortunately, in this period of my life, I never felt like I fit in. A majority of my low self-esteem was due to the fact that I didn’t look like the women represented in the fashion magazines.
Beauty Continuum is my journey to self-empowerment from the unrealistic ideas of beauty imposed on us. My intentions with this work is to deconstruct images from fashion magazines. My interest is to shatter the ideas and definitions of physically attractiveness. Like all of my work I am reorganizing one reality into another. I am destroying the original image, re-interpreting and transforming an original concept into a fluid reality of other forms and ideas.
In different cultures the standards for judging physical beauty differs significantly as the norms of attractiveness vary across culture and time. Therefore the perception of beauty is subjective; In the 3rdcentury BC this phrase first appeared in Greek, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. It then took many centuries later to appear in print but to this day rings very true.
Mor-phol-o-gy is the study of the form of things, in particular.
On my daily walks, I found myself picking up leaves and flowers that caught my eye on the nature trail near my house. In nature, from the stages of death and decay comes transformation and the birth of something new. The cycles of life are self evident. There is not only an order but a repetitive pattern and rhythm. I had an immediate desire to observe then re-arrange this order. By re-interpreting or simply observing the structures, I saw new parallels and metaphors for the cycles of life. Each leaf or flower had a distinct pattern and stage of decay. Each one has a different story to tell, and in its death it continues to feed the earth as everything eventually returns to the earth.
The Portfolios: Grace and Truth, Into the Gray, and Prima Materia represent over twenty years of working with Polaroid materials. I have experimented and manipulated both the negative and the positive of the Polaroid film using chemicals and my hands. The main components and motivation in all of my work is the investigation of time, transformation and existence.
GRACE AND TRUTH
“We feast on time as Time feasts on us” ~Maria Popva
My desire was to strip away as much as I could in order to be as honest as possible with my intentions. I chose to photograph my subject’s nude with a plain black background. There are numerous references in the work some which include mythology and religion. The one common thread connecting all of the images is time and existence.
These images are created using expired Type 55 film and a 4x5 view camera. After the initial in-camera exposure, I subject the polaroid to household chemicals. The chemical process begins to alter the image through the exposure of light and time. The original photograph begins to slowly fade away and in its place the figure recedes into anew landscape. The image continues to alter and evolve therefore I scan and re-scan the Polaroids during the different stages of transformation. With the passage of time the images become more ethereal, fragmented and degraded. These photographs like the moving image will continue to change as the past makes its way into the future. Grace and Truth reflects my fascination with time, it's passage, and my desire to transcend time through my work. Perhaps in my own way I am trying to make peace with it.
As a young child I was always fascinated with what exists below the surface. Whether in the desert digging a hole only to discover a nest of scorpions or creating art my search for other parallel realities is evident. Recently while going through old files I found a teacher's comments from my kindergarten class. She was concerned about an art project in class. Apparently I painted every inch of the paper with every available color and then I proceeded to paint over the entire art piece with black paint.
The phrase Prima Materia translates to Primal Matter. These images once existed as portraits and still lives, the Polaroid negative is submerged into a liquid chemical bath. Unlike the previous portfolio, once the original photographic image has completely disappeared an abstract landscape emerges...the surface is soft and pliable. I can easily manipulate the surface of the film with my hands and fingernails. The alteration of the film's structure allows the material to resort back to organic shapes and material.
ARROW OF TIME
When you lose a parent it is a life altering event, life is never the same again. With loss comes many questions; are our loved one's all around us? or is it our memories which keep them close to us. What is time? Does the past present and future all exist simultaneously? Merging vintage family photographs with my 35mm work allowed me to explore all of these questions. I made up stories, I tried to imagine my loved ones walking around the landscape in this alternate dimension existing in their own private haven. I tried to imagine how they would inform my present reality. Deep down I creating a platform for the past and the present to exist simultaneously. "Arrow of Time" is a theory which explains that time moves only in one direction and cannot exist without entropy. Though we cannot time travel to the past, I believe that we all carry the past into our present as well as the future. Looking at where we came from gives meaning and purpose in our lives. As I look at these images I realize that I am no closer to the answers I seek, but I come away with the knowledge that life is a process-there is an order to nature, life, and death- and how we navigate our way in the world comes from a respect for the past.
I could swim before I could walk and learned how to dive in my own back yard. I have always lived near the ocean. The ocean has always been a place of deep inspiration and concern. For the past 2 years my lens has been focused on sea life including corals, fish, and marine plant life. 90% of our bodies our made up of water, over 70% of our earth is covered in water, but only 1% of all bodies of water on earth are not affected by Man. The changing landscape of our planet and Oceans is alarming. There are many scientists who believe that we will exhaust most if not all of the fish in the oceans by 2035, and that plastic will outnumber fish. We are on the threshold where our footprints will soon be irreversible. Man’s relationship to the natural environment is severed on so many levels. It weighs heavily on my mind and I ask, at what price do we separate, consume, and destroy from what sustains life? Under Seas began with my documenting sea life in the Aquariums throughout the United States. Even though aquariums are a place of education, they are unnatural environments for the marine life. I can’t help but feel a deep sadness each time I visit. I feel that Aquariums will likely be the future museums of the sea.
DISAPPEARING ICE~A WORLD WITHOUT ICE
If you told me ten years ago that I would be on an expedition ship to the Arctic I would have responded absolutely no way. I have had a deep fear of ships all of my life due to inner ear issues and motion sickness. When this 'once in a lifetime' opportunity arose, I could not say no and I knew that I needed to push through my fears. The Arctic is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Being in a landscape of glaciers and ice was beyond a surreal experience for me. The silence, the beauty, the wild life, is forever burned into my memory. At the same time I witnessed the evidence of the receding ice floe and its impact on the Arctic was right in front of our eyes and cameras. The expedition was a life altering experience. Upon returning I formed a non-profit, Oceans in Focus to create conservation presentations to children around the world. Using Film, Photography and art to educate kids about the urgent issues our oceans face today. It is the children who hold the future in their hands. I want to give them a platform where they can share their unique viewpoints, discover new sustainable solutions and become active participants in the well being of our oceans and environment. https://www.oceansinfocus.org
SHADOWS AND LIGHT
Throughout my photographic life I keep returning to the still life. Shadows and light began with a single light source, a black background and objects passed down from loved ones Creating new tableaux’s that are unseen in the light, I became fascinated with the ideas of reality and perception and how they are interpreted by the unconscious mind. Time, memory and loss have all been a constant thread throughout my work. In an attempt to give new life to these Treasured objects, in a way my family continues to live on in a new time and space.
TO THE SEA
I could swim before I could walk. Before the age of one I was thrown into the water. At first, I was scared-terrified holding tightly onto my favorite “blankie” My physical safety and world was being threatened. As I entered the water I sank below the surface, it was cold and dark but then my body raised to the surface and I felt a quiet calm come over me…The 2 most powerful emotions I experienced as a child was the love for my mother and the love of the sea. Both of my parents and grandparents had a strong connection to the sea, growing up we spent most of our time at the ocean. Every holiday was spent in Hawaii when my Father wasn’t traveling the world as a TV Cameraman. The ocean is the one place that feels like home.