General Entry - Emerging Talent Awards
Project info

Early in my career, I photographed pre-industrial cultures and their artifacts, using the camera as a means to make anthropological and archaeological connections to the here-and-now. Beginning in the early 1980s, I worked on projects photographing ancient art treasures in Latin America as well as contemporary trance rituals in Haiti and Indonesia. These experiences sensitized me to patterns of imagery within nature, and provided insight into the artworks and cultures I had been capturing on film. In Indonesia in the late-1980s, I photographed Balinese trance rituals: people taking themselves out of this world, into another. Even in the middle of the California forests, or the Florida everglades – places I have visited often over the last decade—I searched out zoomorphic and anthropomorphic images, transformative patterns that create a visual bridge between two worlds. The longer I have looked at the natural world, the more I have imagined a hidden text within those patterns. This has been the foundation for much of my work.

The latest group of pictures, “Eye and Sky” are images made from within giant redwoods and sequoias. The redwoods and sequoias have over their long lives been recurrently struck by lightning, eventually carving out their hard central cores. These mammoth trees, some over three thousand years old, though hollow, remain alive. I have been photographing from within these trees using the openings as apertures, framing the sky. These works are not meant to be a photographic description or documentation, but instead to act as a catalyst designed to function as a portal from a recognizable world to something original and unexpected.

From my earliest days as a photographer I have thought about the ways Art manifests a need to create order out of what is essentially without order -- seeking knowledge, and inspiration, from the chaos of nature. This work is meant to draw connections between these two states - and find the bridge between them.