Self & Others series

SELF & OTHERS
includes works from the following series:

People I Don’t Know

I continue to be fascinated with found photographs. For 25 years, I have collected photographs found on the ground. Recently I have been drawn to more formal portraits culled from dusty cardboard boxes in thrift stores or ratty suitcases at flea markets. There in an innate sadness connected to these photographs. Who are they? What are their stories? How did these photographs end up unloved, not with their families, discarded?

I decided to give them a chance to live again, to be seen again, to be considered part of our collective whole. In order to infuse life into the images, I asked people of the same gender and approximate age to hold the photograph, leaving room for the viewer to connect the living to those who have passed on. I feel a quiet satisfaction that they got to see the sun and the stars again, be held again, and be recognized with love and dignity.

Arrangement in Green and Black: Portrait of the Photographer’s Mother

Sometimes the planets line-up and the exploration of one’s artistic vision is a completely joyful, and even, miraculous experience. The series, , had serendipitous beginnings. I found a small print of Whistler’s painting, Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother, at a neighborhood garage sale. As I stood among the piles of discarded belongings, I started thinking about the idea of portraiture, the strong compositional relationships going on within Whistler’s painting, and the evocative nature of unassuming details. I wanted to create something influenced by the painting, but I wasn’t sure what. There seemed to be an abundance of garage sales that weekend, because shortly after, I found a leopard coat and hat, a 1950’s cat painting, and what looked like the exact chair from Whistler’s painting. I knew I was on to something.

I decided to explore Whistler’s painting through humor and the connections between the wardrobe and the props. I also looked at this series as a way to utilize all the things I loved doing: spending time with my proper, yet hilarious mother, going to garage sales and swap meets, searching ebay, styling sets, taking photographs, and painting. My mother was a willing model, but could not understand why any one would be interested seeing her dressed up as Elvis or wearing a bathing suit.

Arrangement in Green and Black incorporates traditional photography techniques, yet becomes richer with the treatment of hand painting. It is my intent to have the viewer see the work in a historical context with the addition of color, and at the same time, experience Whistler’s simple, yet brilliant formula for the composition.

The series took two years to complete photography, and then another 6 months to paint the images. My patient 85 year-old mother posed in over 20 ensembles, but unfortunately passed away before seeing the finished series. I am grateful for her sense of humor and the time this series allowed us to be together. In retrospect, I would never have imagined that this series, photographed against my garage and made up of garage sale props, would be exhibited and published all over the world. A fact that I’m sure would have delighted and amazed my mother.

The images were taken with a Hasselblad and printed on Ilford warm tone matt paper in two sizes, 11×14 and 16×20.

Revisiting Beauty

Revisiting Beauty is a series of portraits inspired by portrait paintings of the twentieth century. This work is part of a larger project that examines connections of color, landscape, pose, and object as a way to reconsider the formal expression of the photographic portrait and give a nod to classic painterly sensibilities.

Over the last decade photography has turned away from the ideal of beauty, as it has turned away from the wet darkroom and the idea of crafting a singular artistic print. In reaction to Eggleston’s influence on a generation of photographers, I wanted to create a body of work that was formal and beautiful, capturing girls between the ages of 14 – 17 on the cusp of womanhood and not fully aware of their own loveliness. I only work with people I know and seek to portray them with dignity and sensitivity. The subjects are photographed against a colorful backdrop completed with a landscape I have captured, either in China or California. The result is a feminization of the landscape and a more painterly approach to creating photographs.

Spring Fever

Director Michael Apted based his famous documentary series, 7-up through 49-up, on the Jesuit maxim: Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man. In this case, I give you the girl. Spring Fever explores the idea of childhood and beyond, capturing 7-year-old girls wearing 1950’s spring hats. Juxtaposing hats traditionally worn by women half a century older with the visual of a child on the threshold of knowledge and sophistication allows us a glimpse into the future, and possibly a reflection of a face that wore a head full of flowers long ago.

Some believe that articles of clothing hold the essence of the original owner. It is my hope that we are not only looking at a contemporary face, but an echo of a person that once wore a hat covered in flowers and worn during a church service or a garden luncheon, when once upon a time, we celebrated Spring with fanfare and a hat.

Hollywood at Home

Growing up a stone’s throw from Hollywood and Vine, I have always been intrigued by the real and the manufactured Hollywood. The staged Hollywood at Home photographs from the 40’s and 50’s of celebrities at play or at home with their families are particular favorites of mine.

In a reality-tv society where celebrity and stardom is now possible without talent or reason, the idea that anyone can become a star has indeed,

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