My photographs are often quite simply about light, though they may suggest dreams or memories half-recollected. The process I embrace involves inching towards revealing clear memory, or understanding. I find myself most interested when my response to an image remains in flux; developing. Photographic protocols and chance elements are acknowledged and welcomed. Light leaks, digital artifacts, adjustments in depth of field, patterns, compositional tropes, a sense of place, flare and shadow—all evince potential for surprising and satisfying views down the rabbit hole of perception.
These images are of Greek and Roman statuary at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Getty Villa in Malibu. They originated as tintypes-produced using a wet collodion process first developed in the 1850s. My intention is to interpret moments of connection between an observer and these objects that are simultaneously remote and familiar. The dialectic is mysterious, but oddly present and complex; substantive and distant as any portrait subject.
When you look at the tintype there is a curious interplay between the positive image in the collodian and the blackened tin background that provides a shifting response - depending on where you stand and how light hits it - lending the image a particular physicality, reminiscent of a breath, as if the embedded image is continually emerging from the material. Additionally, each tintype is unique - solid, metallic, yet delicate - displaying in its surface and edges allusions to how it is made. Tintypes are small, precious and solicit close attention. This experience becomes an intimate one - one person looking at another.
Later I scanned the tintypes to make pigment prints. Each iteration of an image is informed by scale and the characteristics of its production. In making the large prints, I became particularly engaged by each subject's gaze. As a group, one portrait may be looking past or towards another - or catching and sometimes holding the eye of the viewer as if we are all involved in a detailed narrative, a drama - present, maybe, at a party and navigating the social landscape. The printed portraits seem to become more personal and more abstract at the same time.
I intend this project to include hundreds more statues.
I grew up on the edge of Chinatown in San Francisco and later lived in New York City's Chinatown. These images were taken at night in both neighborhoods.
In my photographs, there is frequently an undercurrent of discomfort, of movement, as if the subject were breathing, offering itself to be found and seen; apprehended if not fully understood. Evocations of feeling states: weightlessness, warmth or cold, anxiety or hope, induce a shifting response - sometimes pleasurable, sometimes difficult - reflecting complicated states of existence.
Frequently I will work in collaboration with art directors, designers, and private or corporate collectors to make commissioned, site specific pieces. Typically the projects are shot over a period of days, weeks, sometimes over a year.
I am also photographing an ongoing project imagining and anthropomorphizing habitats and narratives of the birds and animals that live in, around, and under my house in Northern California.