As it is with so many artists, a lot of my work is an outward expression of inner thoughts. Cameras, and by extension, post processing are tools I use to reconcile a variety of overarching themes in my life. Many of these themes can be boiled down to one main concept: the duality we all live with. While many cultures have terms for this (Yin and Yang, good and evil, light and dark, etc), I chose to describe my own inner battle as ‘hope in the struggle.’
In my short time on earth, I have found that much of being human involves learning to accept that we can experience multiple emotions simultaneously. For many years, this wreaked complete havoc on me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. While certainly not the only cause, I wholeheartedly believe it was a motivating factor in my long term battle with drugs as well as my long term battle with Crohn’s Disease.
In 2011, two events happened in my life that led to me reevaluating my personal outlook on the world. I got sober and I had my large intestine removed due to complications with Crohn’s Disease. Although both of these events (thankfully!) had immediate positive impacts on my overall health and well-being, it was not the events themselves that caused my cognitive paradigm shift. It was the aftermath. After getting sober, and after losing my colon, I had erroneously assumed that life would just ‘be better.’ Over the course of the next few years, I learned that life was better, and that I also still struggled.
Prior to this time in my life, the struggle would break me. Every time. This time, it was different. Partially thanks to a clearer head, I learned that I could experience the positive and the negative, the light and the dark, the ups and the downs of life on life’s terms. I not only began to accept this duality, I began to find solace in it. Up until this period, emotion was a fairly binary, black and white, construct for me. It was either all hope, or all struggle. For the first time in my adult life, I sought to embrace the hope in the struggle.
In my images, I aim to convey a sense of that hope in the struggle. Much of my work focuses on a single subject relating to a seemingly harsh/sparse environment. I’m often drawn to the natural world as a setting; particularly cold, foggy, and gloomy scenes. I find there to be a beautiful vulnerability in the loneliness and isolation of a subject in a harsh/sparse spaces.
Though fog is not in all of my work (mainly due to my lack of ability to control the weather), whenever possible, I try to incorporate it. Fog forces you to be in the present moment. In any direction, you can only see for a just a little bit, so all you’re left with is exactly what is happening in that moment. You can look in front of you, but you can’t see the future. You can look behind you, and you’re not defined by the past. You’re just exactly where you are, right where you need to be, right when you need to be there.
To that end, in my images, I want to convey a sense of visceral presence. I am not concerned with the narrative relating to the before and after. I am concerned with the present moment. I want the viewer to experience a momentary ineffable catharsis, forgetting their past, while simultaneously not projecting themselves into an uncertain future. I want the viewer to be hopeful in the present struggle.