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The Psychomachia series (named for the epic 4thCentury poem by Prudentius) is my interpretation of the Sins and the Virtues that the strict Christian community in which I was raised presented as cookie-cutter molds for damnation and redemption.
As a child, I was taught that the worst thing I could do was sin. Growing into my pubescent body and becoming aware of my homosexuality put me in conflict. I knew deep down that I was still a good person, but what I was being told can be summed up by one of my favorite song lyrics at the time: “It’s a sin, everything I say or do, every place I’ve ever been, everywhere I’m going to, it’s a sin.” The counter-narratives to sin were the virtues. They were promoted as the answers to any conundrum I faced. Yet, the virtues were divine absolutes, and, in some cases, they sought to completely negate certain integral parts of me.
The Seven Deadly Sins are depicted by adding a figural component to traditionalvanitas still lifes, which connote earthly goods and pursuits as transient and worthless. Enjoyment evoked by the sensuous depiction of the subjects is intentional and reflects my conflicted experience of their moralistic messages, as do the elements of self-portrait. The more conceptual Seven Heavenly Virtues are presented in the reverse: the human figure, as repository of the soul, takes precedence over physical objects. The warm presence of flesh and body grounds these lofty ideals, reminding us that life is lived between the tug-of-war of good and bad, and that unbending pursuit of righteous perfections might be as damaging as sin itself.
In A New Light
Do you have a deep, internal connection to the place where you were born? Or where you feel you’re “from?” What are these invisible bonds that fasten us to these places? For some, that place is not the actual city, town or street, but our memory of it: idealized, dramatized, and fantasized. It can feel like that place shaped us, even if we only hold a handful of memories from it. Exploring my own sense of being “drawn to a place” is what led me to create this body of work.
I was born in a bucolic town in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. My parents divorced when I was a baby, and my father moved away. My mother and I left when I was in the first grade. Now, in my 40s, post-coming out, post-marriage, and having spent so many years away... my desire to return to those mountains has never waned. I still yearn to breathe that fresh air, to wander through those venerable trees.
On the occasions I return for a visit, I am revitalized by feelings of peace and rejuvenation. Yet, at random moments, those feelings morph into an equally strong sense of melancholy and loss. This conversion from positive to negative is an unsettling confluence of emotions, as if I have stumbled upona lonely ghost lurking in a forest clearing. Having only spent my youngest years in those mountains, the memories I have are vague, and many of those are despondent. My mind is like an empty photo album: there were memories once, but now the pages are vacant.
Each “trip back home” is filled with inner conflict, yet every time I leave I can’t wait to go back again. To desire a return to a place and be willing to suffer its casualties speaks to the intense imprinting of notions of safety, home and family in childhood.
With this project, I wanted to share these conflicted feelings, to acknowledge them, sit with them, and accept them. I hope to reveal how this place can be both beautiful and peaceful while at the same time be an emotional landmine, springing thoughts of what wasn’t upon me at any time.
Color infrared film was used in the 1930s by the military to help locate structures in dense forests. It reveals a part of the light spectrum that is invisible to the human eye, producing a unique color palette. My use of color infrared film is to see below the surface or to peek behind the curtain at how this place I can barely remember can affect me so deeply. The shift in color from visual light to invisible light reclaims this place, or the “idea” of it in my mind. Mixing an older film process with digital photography connects the present and the past, as I create new memories, hopeful ones that make this place mine again as I have never seen it before.
In a new light.
Peering Into The Dark
Casting A Long Shadow
On The Far Side Of The Moon
What My Window Might Have Looked Like
The Long Way Home
Little Boy Lost
Under My Skin
A Growing Love
Learning To Fly
This Too Shall Pass
Shot on round frame Impossible 600 Instant film with the I-1 Camera.
This Polaroid series is a look back at my journey from pain to acceptance. Through the unreliable lens of memory, I am revisiting an emotional period of shame, fear and rejection, and later, love, desire, and home. These memories, conjured up time and time again over the years, fuzz and change, often leaving only impressions of a moment, an apparition. It’s these bygone feelings, these ghosts, that I’m trying to capture and in doing so, set them free.
Instant film was prevalent at the time of my earliest remembrances. I can still glimpse my mother fanning a Polaroid photo of me on the steps of our mountain town church, waiting for it to develop. The circle, or looking glass, is a way through which I can see my past selves. There is also a completion to this circle, an acceptance of what was, and an understanding that those selves made me who I am today.
I share these filmy impressions in an effort to connect to others and maybe help them through their own difficulties, showing that one day they may look back on them and say, “Hello ghost, you don’t hurt me anymore.”
My Faded Fantasy
Unique Wetplate Collodion Tintypes and Ambrotypes
12x12" layered glass and aluminum photographic plates (with spacers, in frame)
Using a historic photography process to romanticize the lyrical uncertainty of love.
These images are the equivalents of daydreams—reveries suffused with hope and yearning, desire and loneliness. The floral photographic layers on glass evoke the trance of memory—fluid images at once solid yet unclear, ideal but mysterious. These romantic fantasies are moments that can become lost and leave us solitary just as easily as they can solidify into tangible experience. This is the tumult of love and desire.
Untitled #1 12x12" Two Ambrotypes, One Tintype
Untitled #2 12x12" Tintype
Untitled #3 12x12" Three Ambrotypes (ORIGINAL- SOLD)
Untitled #4 12x12" One Ambrotype, One Tintype (ORIGINAL- SOLD)
Untitled #5 12x12" Tintype
Untitled #6 12x12" One Ambrotype, OneTintype
Untitled #7 12x12" Tintype
Untitled #8 12x12" Three Ambrotypes, One Tintype
Untitled #9 12x12" Tintype
Untitled #10 12x12" Two Ambrotypes, One Tintype
Untitled #11 12x12" Tintype
Untitled #12 12x12" Two Ambrotypes
Untitled #13 12x12" Tintype
Untitled #14 12x12" One Ambrotype, One Tintype
Untitled #15 12x12" Two Ambrotypes
Untitled #16 12x12" Tintype
Untitled #17 12x12" Ambrotype
Untitled #18 12x12" Two Ambrotypes, One Tintype
Untitled #19 12x12" Two Ambrotypes
Untitled #20 12x12" Two Ambrotypes
Untitled #21 12x12" Tintype
Untitled #22 12x12" One Ambrotype, One Tintype
Untitled #23 12x12" Two Ambrotypes
Untitled #24 12x12" One Ambrotype, One Tintype
Untitled #25 12x12" Ambrotype
Untitled #26 12x12" One Ambrotype, One Tintype
Untitled #27 12x12" One Ambrotype, One Tintype
Unique Wetplate Collodion Tintypes
7”x7” and 12"x12" aluminum plates
“God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of "parties" with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear…the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
This series has become a reflection of my own struggle with being a shy introvert who seeks connection, yet more often hides or "puts on" what I think others want of me. Anxious, self-conscious, awkward. I have made literal our societal programming to pack away those "unappealing" qualities, felt by many but hidden. In our cultural history, the person with the bigger personality and the biggest mouth is often the most prized. They are the squeaky wheel that gets greased. Those who struggle with expressing their thoughts and feelings are told they are not good enough. Or, more tragically, they are simply ignored. The "less thans", must box away our fragile hearts, affix the correct face, and head out to try and be noticed.
Unique 12x12 Wetplate Tintype
Her fragile heart would not be handled with such ham-handedness again. 7x7"
In that moment he reacted with complete honesty, maybe for the first time. 7x7"
He hid his feelings behind a mask of his own making. 12x12" (ORIGINAL- SOLD)
She held onto her hope like a life preserver. 7x7"
He would never be interested in me. 12x12"
She was the smartest one in the room, but she couldn't show it. 7x7" (ORIGINAL- SOLD)
Even sleep provided no rest. 12x12"
The words just never seem to come out right. 12x12" (ORIGINAL- SOLD)
“They will never find me here…”she repeated to herself over and over again. 7x7"
He had always relied greatly on his looks to get noticed… 12x12"
It was all in his head. 12x12"
This is what I will share of me and nothing more. 12x12"
She sat before him, open, vulnerable, waiting for some sign of understanding. 12x12"
His heart beat so hard, the sound of it drowned out the noise of the crowd around him. 7x7"
She couldn’t remember when it became her against them… 7x7"
Her spot in the self-help aisle was free. 7x7"
The tornado of negative voices in her head was carrying her far, far away. 7x7"
Skin deep was as deep as they wanted to go. 7x7"
Wants love but will settle for sex. 7x7"
It would be so easy to crawl back into my shell. 12x12"
I feel separate, removed from everyone else. 7x7"
She envied his "come as it may" attitude. (Dyptic) 12x12" x2
The bell rings and she comes out swinging. 7x7"
Just one more and I'll be good. 12x12"
So tired of trying to be that for you. 7x7"
I am in control. (Diptych) 7x7" x2
I must be strong. 7x7" (ORIGINAL- SOLD)
Too tired to let go. 12x12"
Not the real me. 7x7"
Wanting to be seen but always feeling watched. 12x12"
So tired of being alone. 12x12"
I am saving myself. 7x7"
Must we always play these games? 7x7"
Barely holding it together. 12x12"
You only love me when I'm drunk. 7x7"
He couldn't find a balance. 12x12"
"It's now or never," he thought, took a deep breath and opened the door. 12x12"
Born from an appreciation for the strength of the male form, Man, Gods and Other Myths explores its classic beauty through the stories and characters of our past. Striving to capture the essence of the subject, the scenes are simple and direct. The ethereal quality of the wet-plate process combined with the statuesque formality of the subjects recalls the Greek concept of kouros: a vision of ideal beauty, piety, honor or sacrifice. Embodiments of the gods made manifest in flesh. These are glimpses of modern men before us, but also a mythologizing of all men through time.
Son of Dionysus
Resurrection of Osiris
Orchid of Potency
Adam & Eve (Dyptic- Two Ambrotypes and One Tintype)
Aphrodite (Three Ambrotypes)
Aphrodite (Deconstructed- Three Ambrotypes)
St. Sebastian (Two Ambrotypes)
The Wrestlers (Two Ambrotypes)
Perseus (Two Ambrotypes and One Tintype)
Eros (One Ambro Type and One Tintype) (ORIGINAL- SOLD)
The human body is beautiful… It is hard and soft, it has elegant lines, and it has the ability to convey emotion without words. I strive to capture those emotions — strength, vulnerability, loneliness — through my male subjects. Everywhere, I fell our society's anxiety about our bodies, a shame with a stranglehold upon us since the beginning of time. From the parable of Adam hiding his nakedness with the nature around him, to you and me doing the same with fabric. What is our relationship with those things that hide our mortification? Is that relationship affording us freedom, or subtly programing a deeper discomfort? What makes it so ingrained in the human experience? In this series I use a clean and classic style to lay bare "ideal" people experiencing emotions about their bodies just as each of us does. I wanted images that viewers can experience without feeling shocked or assaulted…to draw them in and start a conversation with them…first about their feelings on someone else's nakedness and then about their own relationship to their own.