Reality is rarely what it appears, and what we think we understand is often just a story we tell ourselves. This is why I’m driven towards abstracting my subjects, even though I work in the reality-based medium of photography. Abstract art simply seems more representative of reality than literal depictions of the world.
My subjects are often intricate and messy, so I work to wrangle order out of chaos, to tell a tidier story. In doing so, I frequently change the subject’s story, from stone to flesh or from tree branches to fractal geometry. I suppose it’s not surprising that my creations often produce as much uncertainty in others as they dispel for me.
I use multiple approaches to achieve my ends, including close framing, avoiding horizons, and subtraction of color along with the usual photographic cares of light, perspective and exposure. While my true love remains black-and-white, recently I’ve allowed color to seep in and use either as best suits my intention of the moment.
About the portfolios
This portfolio of abstractions explores the interplay of order and chaos. For it, I made many exposures of a complex subject from multiple points of view to explore multiple ways of seeing a single thing. While each image of the subject - a draped fishing net held up to cloudy skies - portrays a fragmentary glimpse state, several together provide a greater but sometimes even more confusing view of the whole.
State of Mind
Between Time: a commuter's diary
Between Time: a commuter’s diary is a series of handmade photo books that recount a year's commuting between Redwood City and San Francisco, California, on Caltrain. Stuck on the train for 45 minutes each way between home and work, I made iPhone images through the grime and glare of an upper deck window whenever I could. First engaged by this new-found “backside” view of my suburban world that's mostly hidden from all but Caltrain riders—parking lots, storage bins, junkyards, backyards—I quickly became compelled by how different each day was, even though my route and vantage remained the same. To this end, each book includes a chronological set of images from a single day, reflecting the intersection of a day’s disposition, my window view, and my mood.
All materials bear the imprint of the forces that formed them. Some structures serve a clear purpose while others seem purely coincidental, lucky combinations of physics and chance. Formations of vastly different scale produced by wholly different means show surprising similarities. I'm continually fascinated and stimulated by this world, where the forms seem universal while the media are irrelevant, left to our imagination.
I'm intrigued by the lost history of abandoned home- and work-sites and the anonymity of those who built, lived, and worked in them. Walking among the ruins stirs my own fading memories of people and places in my past, and I wonder in whose memories these things live on. With these abstracts and closely framed still-life from sites across the American west, I explore fragments of what people have left behind, like unintended artworks etched in wood, cement and steel.