A man who finds himself among others is irritated because he does not know why he is not one of the others.
In bed next to a girl he loves, he forgets that he does not know why he is himself instead of the body he touches.
Without knowing it, he suffers from the mental darkness that keeps him from screaming that he himself is the girl who forgets his presence while shuddering in his arms.
Love or infantile rage, or a provincial dowager’s vanity, or clerical pornography, or the diamond of a soprano bewilder individuals forgotten in dusty apartments.
They can very well try to find each other; they will never find anything but parodic images, and they will fall asleep as empty as mirrors.It is out of this confusion where my photography attempts to create some sense of order, meaning. The greater the confusion, the greater the obsession to find that perfect shot. I wander through ruins, a bleak landscape that permeates my consciousness, and I attempt to create something that resonates within and for an audience. I cannot give voice to all of the confusion I experience, but my photography can offer a fair representation of at least some of it. It acts like a mirror in that it is one location where, left exposed, I am forced to be brutally honest. The tools at my disposal may be depth of field or an extreme focal point. It may be use of negative space. Any tool at my disposal that helps to tell a story is of benefit. How the story I tell rises to “art” ultimately is a judgment of taste. This is a subjective experience for my audience. As for my self, one can look to Sigmund Freud to consider the question of the conflicted individual. In “The Relation of the Poet to Day-Dreaming,” Freud uses the example of the story writer and poet to articulate his views on the creative process. All artistic expression is served by Freud’s focus, though, as well as the audience and critic. According to Freud, all artistic expression is play, the creation of a world of fantasy or worlds of fantasy by the artist. As such, the aesthetic object is wish-fulfillment and conflict resolution on the part of the creator. It represents the diversity of human experience, the random and chaotic nature of the individual. Though its representations may be often quite similar, it bears the imprint of the individual, ever-changing and never quite the same. The same rationale applies to the effect artistic expression has on its audience. The pleasure the recipient receives comes from an infinite variety of experiences and interpretations, once again often similar but never quite the same.
My audience is quite varied in its reception to my photography. The formal art nudes that rely on depth of field are quick to receive artistic praise, while reception of my photography with extreme focal points is mixed. Consider Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to help me illustrate my point. No representation of the painting is necessary. The Mona Lisa is arguably history’s most famous piece of art. The individual with limited knowledge of the painting may ask why this so. One thing I know is that the Mona Lisa hangs in the Louvre in Paris. I know as well that the Mona Lisa is “art” and a classic. I know these things because they are part of my formal education. On the other hand, Walter Pater’s appreciation of the Mona Lisa far exceeds that of mine. Pater’s appreciation of the Mona Lisa was so keen, that poet William Butler Yeats considered the prose written by Pater as an independent work of art and included it in free verse form at the beginning of his Oxford Book of Modern Verse (1936). What is it about the Mona Lisa that Pater finds so moving? Pater writes: “Hers is the head upon which “all the ends of the world are come,” and the eyelids are a little weary. It is a beauty wrought out from within upon the flesh, the deposit, little cell by cell, of strange thoughts and fantastic reveries and exquisite passions. Set it for a moment beside one of those white Greek goddesses or beautiful women of antiquity, and how they would be troubled by this beauty, into which the soul with all its maladies has passed!” What Pater writes is so moving – so much so that I wonder why I did not have a similar reaction. A poster of painting that did move used to hang in my room. Salvador Dali’s The Hallucinogenic Toreador does evoke strong feelings on my part. I see Dali’s vision, the marble busts and images of icons with auras surrounding them. I think of beauty, desire, God, and man-made religion. It represents my take on experience. I am conflicted, feeling the tug of different interests. What others may see in such a painting is beyond me. Yet, because of the emotions the painting evokes, I consider it a work of art of the highest order. I realize this is a judgment of taste on my part. I also realize that there is no standard that can validate my claim.
A mission statement just wouldn’t seem right without discussing aesthetics. Walter Pater writes: “Beauty, like all other qualities presented to human experience, is relative; and the definition of it becomes unmeaning and useless in proportion to its abstractness.” The key word is “human.” As long as humans are finite and conflicted creatures, my photography remains open to possibility.