Personal Work Statement
As a photographer and lens-based artist I focus on issues of cultural identity and memory, and construct contemporary narratives which create an opportunity for discourse in which individual and collective memory can cultivate new explorations of identity and place. A seminal aspect of my work lies in the territory of family. Home and family have functioned as subject, provided a physical source archive, and served as a catalyst or touchstone for all of my work. Through the lens of family, I have explored portraiture, war and its ramifications, and forgotten or soon-to-be-forgotten histories and cultures of the south. My new in process work, influenced by my rural upbringing, engages and critiques the social and environmental consequences of changing land usage, commercial farming, the loss of the family farm, and the impact of suburban sprawl.
First and fore-most I am a storyteller. My studio practice contains a range of approaches from portraiture, to process oriented organic sculpture created solely to be photographed as well as constructed landscapes, and installation. The thread of influence that runs through my work regardless of the vehicle is the impact of character driven oral histories, tales of transformation prevalent in southern morality tales as well as the vernacular and emotive intonations infused into a southern raconteur’s yarn. I create stories and insert meaning into my work much as traditional southern story tellers do. I employ the same techniques of metaphor, inflection, interpretation and vernacular but with visual language using light, shadow, constructed imagery, craft, process and the directorial mode.
Although I do engage direct documentary at times in my work, I am most interested in conveying the emotional truth of an experience in small dramatic moments which are a catalyst to spark empathy leading to the examination of identity, social injustice or issues with environmental ramifications. The transmutative power of the camera as a tool to re-package and re-interpret my subjects with subjective and personal intention is integral to my work. It allows me to create a space which offers the viewer the opportunity to engage an idea from a direction they may not have taken on their own and thereby facilitates a moment of reflection with the ultimate goal of inspiring insight or instigating change.