Salman Rushdie once wrote: “How hard to pin down the truth, especially when one is obliged to see the world in slices: snapshots conceal as much as they make plain.” I photograph because I want to enable my subjects to truthfully tell their unique story without having to speak a word. I photograph, because I want to challenge the viewer to question the status quo. I photograph, precisely because it is hard to pin down the truth.
In the fall of 2000, I received my first camera. It wasn’t much, just a school issued medium format Holga that had to be taped shut to prevent light from seeping into it’s plastic frame. Despite its humble appearance, my Holga quickly became my most prized possession because it gave me a means of interpreting the world. When my camera is pressed against my forehead, I am granted a license to quietly observe and document in a unique manner that cannot be duplicated. Whereas a painter must spend hours creating a work of art, my camera allows me to capture a moment of authenticity in a fraction of a second. I believe that is what is so remarkable about photography. It is an art form that has the power to socially impact the world but a photographer only has 1/200th of a second before the moment is gone.
As an artist, I live in those fractions of a second when a subject reveals their unvarnished self. Rather than programming my camera to take bursts of photos and hoping one hits the mark, I lie in wait until that perfect moment arrives to depress the shutter. By purposefully limiting the number of photographs I take, I am better able connect with my subject and mitigate the discomfort that inevitably comes when a camera is thrust in ones face. It is my ability to anticipate that differentiates me as a photographer and it is what makes my portrait work impactful.