I have always been more interested in how to photograph rather than actual subject matter. Entering into the space between the literal and the perceptual is where I find true creative freedom and, for me, where the expansive and emotional essence of photography resides. These bodies of work bring together some of my recent and most intense experiments with the properties of the medium that I love; crafted to be experienced in physical space. My ongoing interest in architecture has naturally heightened my sensitivity to three-dimensional space, extending my understanding of the interplay with photographic space and, in turn, a desire to create pictures for the wall. Throughout my practice, the context – whether it is a magazine page or architectural space – drives the realization of photographs.
In retrospect, CUBES (2009), was the first manifestation of this chapter of my independent practice. Prompted by my fascination with Italian artist Giorgio Morandi’s still life paintings and the mysterious shortcomings of photography as a counterpoint to painting, I undertook a process of deconstructing his muted palette and subtle painterly gestures. In the concentrated zone of my studio, I came closer to the essence of Morandi’s still lifes through nuanced exercises in abstraction and positioning. CUBES consists of simply two photographs, and represents the important recalibration I made within this phase of my independent practice in avoiding redundancy and repetition. This opened up a creative space for me that led to projects including PLEXI (2009) and RUBBER (2009). Their titles are intentionally literal, referring to the subjects and represented materials of these photographs. Each final photograph is a meditation upon how photography renders and animates visual form. It is a way for me to explore the relationship between the material and immaterial, which is at the heart of the alchemical medium of photography. Simple changes in the light or vantage point create variations. Objects de-materialize as the non-object nature of photographic form materializes. Light and shadow are made tangible and create the dissolution of clear boundaries between object and non-object, leaving a viewer with a heightened sense of pure photographic surface - a pure image. On the other hand, my series CHEESE (2012) and LEMON JUICE (2012), take two somewhat comical ‘non-subjects’. The challenge that this set me was to create photographs of real visual intrigue- and even a narrative of sorts within the sequencing of LEMON JUICE - that could perceptually override the banality of its ostensible subjects. The placement of the glasses of lemon juice are altered just very slightly in each of the thirty-six images and show how subtle variations create photographic recognition of change and alteration, and its unique contingent meaning. The lumps of cheese and the glasses of tinted liquid are foils to photography, upstaged by the possibilities of the medium to give visual charge to everything that it frames.
UNIFORM COLOR SPACE (2009) came out of my research into scientific color theories and my desire to create a body of work that was focused entirely on the nature of color. The process of making this work centers on the act of placement – a distillation of the ways in which I have worked with color throughout my career. By evenly spacing uniform circles of color, strikingly organic arrays became manifest, their beauty created in our uniquely human perception of color. There is a strong connection between UNIFORM COLOR SPACE and RENDERINGS (2010) since both series hinge upon our capacity to construct meaning from what we visually register. While our minds create relationships and contingencies between the uniform color circles, RENDERINGS draws our attention to the boundaries between - and the ‘boundary-less’ - of photography, digital retouching, and post-production. In my photographic practice over the past twenty years – both commissioned and independent – I have explored the evolving field of digital imaging as a medium in its own right. The process behind RENDERINGS begins with me venturing out with a point and shoot camera and finding the pictures that I am naturally drawn towards. I then recreate those images solely with post-production tools, using none of the original photographic data. This process has allowed me to produce a photograph without a conventional camera, while creatively utilizing all of the technology and equipment that I have come to understand so deeply and use to create the visible surface of my photographs. The series and its process consciously recall the act of tracing a subject from the images cast by a camera obscura drawing tool and a linking of digital image rendering with its pre-photographic forebear. The results of this process are hyper-realistic representations of quite ordinary pictures. Constructing such visual ‘double-takes’ where perception shifts is a running theme within my work. It is a pronounced experience throughout my projects, ranging from CHEESE, where recognition rapidly shifts from the basic food product to a meditation upon shape and subtle color, to the acutely synthetic and uncanny affect of RENDERINGS.
In this phase of my independent practice, perhaps the most explicit recalibration and rethinking of the trajectory of my commercial image-making career is held in THE REDUCED ARCHIVE (2010 – ongoing). Using data analytics, I have abstracted twenty years of my commercial work. A new ‘picture’ - and, for me, a new vantage point - is created by algorithmically reading the color structure of my images, altering their coordinates, and reducing each image to its most prevalent colors. These DNA-like traces are compiled into strips, conjoined and compressed into seventy-two tableaux and an animated video. They are a marker of the revision and revival I make in the reading of my own work.