Macro Photography Artists Statement
I have always had a love of gardening, science, and photography. Gardening was a connection to my past, science was a means to explain the world around me, and photography was my voice to express myself.
Gardening was something our family always did. At a young age I regularly had my hands and feet in the dirt helping my grandmother and mother plant and tend the gardens. Before my macro photography days, you could find me in my garden barefoot, connecting to the earth while tending it for food, flowers, and tranquility. This all changed one day when I photographed a tiny native bee in my garden and realized that I had no idea what it was.
Through photographing insects, I have fallen in love with a world I never knew existed, inspiring me to continually look more closely at this overlooked world around us. Where I once planted gardens for myself, I now cultivate spaces and grow plants for the benefit of my insect subjects. Random patches of nature in urban environments become sources of new insects that I observe, track, and take photos of on their own terms, never harming them or taking them out of their environment.
I approach my subjects akin to a portrait photographer. Using the knowledge I’ve obtained while observing insects, I look for their individual personalities, their habits, the right angle, and the perfect moment to showcase them in their own environment.
Over time I have also developed a subtle style that viewers find familiar, esthetically raising these photos beyond what a scientist would typically document and display. At the same time, these images highlight the natural beauty of the subjects, pushing past the viewers’ aversions to most insects, inspiring them to appreciate their beauty.
Using my hand-held camera rig, with custom self-designed flash diffusion, my continued observation of each subject allows me to know how to best approach them, so they are willing to let me get within a few inches from them. Most of my time with a camera in hand is spent in quiet observation of my subjects so that I can develop an intuitive understanding of their behaviors while considering color, form, composition, and light for future photographs.
I print the individual portraits directly on handmade birch wood panels, allowing the natural grain to show through, with a process I developed specifically for this macro series.
Shadowbox Artists Statement
My woodworking,digital photography and computer manipulation combine elegantly to make a language of visual poetry, turning a functional box into a pseudo three dimensional window that allows the viewer to re-live memories that I have selected for them.
Each handmade wooden box holds multiple layers of acetate and is meant to invite the viewer deeper and deeper into the box to experience these memory fragments as an active meditation. The memory fragments start with the hundreds of photos the artist takes while traveling and experiencing life. After that, the images are carefully selected, adjusted and separated in photoshop. They are toner printed on multiple layers of transparent acetate or glass and custom fitted into the handmade wooden box.
Each layer contributes in creating a sense of depth and represents a moment in time. The piece is simultaneously a memory, created from the artist’s own experience, and a reflection, constantly reacting to the environment it is in. As the light changes in the environment, it also changes in the piece. So the experience of the viewer changes with each encounter with the piece.
My exploration of culture, landscape, and science are highly personal, even spiritual. My goal is to draw the viewer into the moments I hold precious by deconstructing imagery, only to meticulously reconstruct it including all of the minute details, and thereby control the viewer’s attention by defining and sometimes adding details that would go unnoticed without intervention.