Much of my recent work involves a collaborative effort with my subjects to create portraits that vacillate between journalistic documentation and staged portrait. Such work represents a return the tradition and connoisseurship of photography from which I have often strayed. Recently, I have been using studio lighting techniques to photograph people I meet along Montana waterways, capturing them under the reverent light and aesthetic of commercial photography. Admittedly, the images suffer from and embrace all the problems of exploitation and objectification from which photography has always suffered. As I focus on young, semi-inebriated figures who are most likely unaware of what they are giving away, my interest lies in what they present to the camera, intentionally or subconsciously, and what the viewer takes away. I wonder what psychological depth the photographs might contain. For me, there’s something about their youth, their vulnerability, their potential, and what they really look like in that moment that presents a certain beauty.
“At our best and most fortunate we make pictures because of what stands before our camera, to honor what is greater and more interesting than we are. We never accomplish this perfectly, though in return we are given something perfect--a sense of inclusion. Our subject thus redefines us, and is part of the biography by which we want to be known.” - Robert Adams