I first conceived of this ongoing series when I stumbled across an unfinished portrait painted on linen, circa 1812. The solitary seated figure was a young man in a fine black suit. There was no background, nothing to distract the viewer from the subject. It was as if he were floating, not in space, but in time—another time. What drew me to the image most was the unfinished quality of it. To me it said, these are works in progress, both the piece and the man portrayed within it.
Memory tends to blur faces. Features fade with time, becoming inchoate. Similarly, a face photographed from behind tracing paper transforms from instantly recognizable to vaguely familiar. My photography work deals with identity, blurring the line between individuality and commonality. Using abstraction or obfuscation I alter or hide key features of my subjects to see at what point they are no longer identifiable, yet still remain essentially human. To see this trace of humanity is to see all of us in each of us.
"My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph." Richard Avedon
“It’s difficult to feel contempt for others when you see yourself in the mirror.” Harold Pinter
Winner of Silver in the Paris Photo Prize, the City Tapestry series of photographs represents a once faded metropolis in the midst of a renaissance. I used a mirroring technique to create identical patterns from images of city skylines, then shifted those patterns to form beautifully strange abstract cityscapes over linen. The pieces are then printed large-scale on textured Hahnemuhle William Turner paper using archival pigment inks.
On Spring Street in Downtown Los Angeles an invisible man leans over a garbage can eating a sandwich from a Styrofoam container while muttering in a made-up language. His hand is crusted in filth, yet he wears a gleaming silver ring, possibly from a previous life. Nearby on 7th Street a wraith stands on a street corner with the wild eyes, cigarette smoke pouring from his nostrils, his thumb blackened from a crack pipe. Two blocks away a boy with one arm sleeps on the sidewalk in the middle of the day, a child’s blanket draped over him. He’s covered in dirt and scabs, but wears a glittering tennis bracelet around his wrist, and a piece of gold cloth around his arm. Nearly everyone hurries by him and the others without a glance as if they were no more than stones on their path.
After photographing a series of street portraits in 2017, I decided to explore the notion of subject and object, abstracting subject into object as a way of expressing the loss of identity or personhood that so many experience every day. Each sphere was made from the subject’s portrait, and no computer-generated images were used.
"I am in no way different from anyone else, that my predicament, my sense of aloneness or isolation may be precisely what unites me with everyone." Franz Wright