The repetition of traveling the same path day in, day out whittles away at the vestiges that once made humans great, that of being explorers. Humans evolved to perceive a 3D world that offers rich visual data, training our brain to create elaborate contexts and vivid memories. These functions of the brain create a cognitive map, which is an internal representation of location necessary for navigation. Once a cognitive map is formed less attention is paid to surroundings that were once new, the immediate world becomes familiar, and behavior is automatized. My series contains images of moments across a repetitive commute between home and work.
I photograph people from afar along our uneventful terrain and to escape this monotony I observe human actions. As a behavioral neuroscientist I seek to make my presence minimal. Whether with mice or humans, viewing from an ineffectual distance affords me safety in watching my subject’s natural state. I am disturbed that my primary connection to people is by scientific inquiry and perhaps even schizoid in nature. My mobile camera serves as a data collection instrument, analytical tool, and social mediator. Ultimately my abstraction of other people’s behavior through the phone informs my composition, which brings to the foreground elements I assume that I was unconsciously seeking, that of an emotional response and feeling close to others. I collect, study, and curate my data with the goal of forming a narrative that I hope creates a cohesive story about the human species and our connectedness, albeit one of subjugation. My photographs depict strong contrast, vivid colors, and darkened regions that extend across the paths where lonely individuals navigate engrained routes.
Contexts are framed by my camera and I aim to externalize the cognitive maps of people traversing along my field of vision. I enter into a lopsided dialectic between inanimate images of my subjects to understand what it means to be an explorer.