I walked the stage during the MFA Graduation Ceremony for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and opened a graduate thesis show with three of my dearest friends and colleagues. That was sort of a homecoming for me.Read More
Wanted to share the story of my latest piece, now on display at the LACDA's "Pink Noise" exhibit.
I completed this piece by compositing several different original photos. I call it “Eurynome,” after the archaic Greek goddess of creation.
The story goes that Eurynome rose from the dark, watery void of nothingness and began to dance. Her dance created a wind on the waters. The wind transformed into a serpent called Ophion. She mated with the serpent, and from that union came the cosmic egg which exploded into all of creation—all matter, all life, all energy.
What I love about this story is that Eurynome transcended gender and contained all that was needed for life to appear. She wasn’t born from a man or in need of a mate. The serpent didn’t corrupt or bring her down. In fact, the union that produced all life came from within herself. From her dance. From her joy.
I like this creation story much better, don't you?
If you have a chance, come view it in person.
I'm lucky.Read More
Very excited to have my first poem published in LILA magazine.
I'm taking a "creative writing" course this summer, part of the never ending MFA program. Inspired by the city I decided to write my first poem about the streets of Hollywood. One of our course assignments was to find a literary journal and submit our poem.
I found the good folks at LILA, who graciously accepted my poem, and requested an image to boot. How's that for working out fine.
Up next is creative "flash" or short fiction, less than 500-750 words. I finished a few pieces and yes, I need to submit those as well (one thing about the Academy, they force you to put yourself out there.)
Again, the shorts are about Hollywood.
"Some places exist beyond the physical confines of their geography. They exist in the mind, in the spirit. They have a soul."
I just passed a pretty significant milestone in my academic career. I presented my Mid Point Review to my thesis committee, and my Hollywood project was approved. That means I can continue working on this project in directed study.
For my final, I need to produce an "iconic image," one that encapsulated my concept for the work, and that would serve as a catalyst to further development. It was a hard task: which Hollywood to capture?
To answer that question, I went back to the beginning. I read the first words I ever wrote about this project, way back in October of last year. I had just started shooting with the Diana. Hollywood was still unfamiliar terrain. Even then I knew I sought something elusive. I knew there was more to this place than the culture of celebrity and the theater of the streets. I was drawn by the soft molding of the light at sunset, and the pockets of transcendent calm amidst the chaos.
I spent the last nine months searching for these things, the elements that communicate the feeling of this place, its light and well as its dark. I managed to show Hollywood’s various faces, from callous to absurd. And shooting this week, I saw them all. Amidst all this, I wondered, is it possible to capture the heart beneath the surface?
Like all great portrait takers, I waited for the right light, the right moment, and the right heart. One of my former professors, himself a renowned portraitist, would say that the secret to his success photographing female models was that in the instant he pressed the shutter, he was in love. And that’s how it was with me.
I love this place. I love how the sun paints the streets like honey. I love the lights that invade the sky. I love the people: their hopes, their crazy, their despair. I love its soul. That is what I saw last week, one quiet afternoon as the sun was slowly making its way into the Pacific. I saw this moment. And in that instant, I was in love.
Some places exist beyond the physical confines of their geography. They exist in the mind, in the spirit. They have a soul. There are streets I walk that tell their stories: of the history they experienced. Their heartaches. Their triumphs. Their dreams.
Last month, I started walking around Hollywood. I’ve never spent much time there. I didn’t like the dirt. It’s gritty. The star-studded streets, steam cleaned every morning, reek of humanity and its attended smells. Costumed performers hustle on the sidewalk, rubbing elbows with missionaries and misfits. Buses belch forth hordes of camera toting tourists, who wander bewildered through its streets like survivors of a plague. It’s the place of dreams and nightmares, and on its streets I believe in angels and demons. I love it. I hate it. I record it like an obsession.
The concept for this is Hollywood: The place, the idea, the state of being. Using my Diana camera and the technique of double exposures, I walk the streets of this Oz in search of my own Wizard, and embrace the temporal and psychological distortion that comes with ingesting the heady concoction of promise and despair.
My intent is to explore the mundane details, the “slightest of subjects*” that reveal the soul of this place. These images document the hallucination that is Hollywood: the place where the streets have eyes and where the stars are at your feet instead of the sky, the place where people fall prostrate on their knees worshiping idols, the city of silver masks and impenetrable isolation. It’s a place of incredible spirituality, and of incredible beauty. It intoxicates.
These images were captured over a series of weeks at different times of the day. The in-between times, dusk and dawn. The times when the soft Southern California light wraps its velvet smooth arms around me and seems to whisper its siren call. Walking through Hollywood, I believe I have it all. I divorce my senses and surrender to the trip. For a minute, I almost believe. Then I feel the yearning maw of millions of unfulfilled dreams. And I shoot.
*Cotton, Charlotte. "Something and Nothing." The Photograph as Contemporary Art. London: Thames & Hudson, 2004. 114-36. Print
This month I started experimenting with different cameras, lenses and <gasp!> actual film. The march towards the elusive MFA continues, my course work this semester centering around experimental contemporary photography. It's pushing me to get out from behind the computer and literally get my hands dirty. Chemicals and plastic cameras, pinholes and processing times. I enjoy it.
Our first project required us to use our camera phone to capture a series of images that would, as Vilem Flusser wrote, "work against the apparatus." That is, bend this thing to my will as the photographer, rather than operating as a slave to its automatic functions. Flusser's work "Towards a Philosophy of Photography" served as the basis of this exploration. It's a great read.
My experiments took me to that strange and disorienting circus known as Santa Monica Blvd. It's my neighborhood, and I walk its streets all the time. I wanted to capture the feeling of the lights, the people, the traffic with nothing more than my iPhone and a few apps.
This is what I got:
It's almost the end of summer. Time to spruce things up. Clean stuff out, and get moving on all the goals I had when the year started. Almost 8 months ago. Wow, that was fast.
If you've read this far, you've probably noticed I changed a few things: The "Low Tide" portfolio from my P-town trip showcases some new work in a new format. Out is the scrolling slide show <so 2008>, replaced with a simple grid gallery.
Finally, those of you with keen eyes will notice something very new to this site: data with a dollar sign.Read More
I just got back from an extended trip to the East Coast. It's always a pleasure to take in the gentle quality of Atlantic light after extended stretches in the blasted skies of Southern California. The trip coincided with a momentous week in history--both past and present.
Our trip started with the Supreme Court's decision to grant marriage equality across the United States, and was bookended by Independence Day celebrations in NYC and Provincetown, MA. Incredibly different celebrations, of course. Both equally fun and filled with much-needed connection to family and friends. And yet that word still echoes in my brain:
What it means. How it feels. What it costs.
It always seems to follow a declaration. And than a struggle. Or even a war. I see this in the twists and turns that finally resulted in the SCOTUS ruling, as well as the history that defines our own United States.
And I see it in myself.
I've been struggling with the word, the concept of, independence. As an artist, I'm always looking for it. Fighting for it. Declaring it silently when I point my camera one place, and not the other. The struggle how to maintain my artistic vision in the dependent laden world of material concerns like bills, rent, tuition.
I don't have a personal SCOTUS ruling. Or a formally signed declaration. I do have my dream. My hard fought practice. And my desire to do the work that fuels it. I guess it took years for the 13 colonies to break it off from mother England. And god knows the struggle for equality still isn't over.
I take comfort in that, actually. It's not a destination. It's a process.
And it costs.
I'm thrilled to have piece in the current "Electron Salon" at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. The work is varied and the space allows for emerging talent, and for that, I'm grateful. I've also managed to get myself included among their represented artists, which for me is a real milestone in this grand adventure. One of the things I love about Los Angeles is that it really is a place were crazy ideas and fantastical dreams coexist with the gritty pavement of reality.
People work their dreams here, and what seemed "unrealistic" months ago feels like everyday life here in this city of Angels. It feels nice: to be among fellow denizens of the craft. Those with their must tell stories and their heart pounding hopes. It feels like home.
Come out to the show if you're in the area. Or just come to LA anyway. You'll have a good time.
Los Angeles Center for Digital Art: Electron Salon and Top 40 Juried Competition Winners
Exhibit Dates: June 11-July 3, 2015
Artists' Reception: Saturday, June 13, 6-9pm
104 E. 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013