Shown: Machinations (L) Antipathy (R) Digital images, 2022
My artistic drive is firmly planted in the broad range of communication that art allows; rooted in my early experiences in art therapy. In this body of work, I have explored visual allegory; creating visual fables in relation to my view of the human condition.
My creative philosophy has developed from the study of Artist Jerry Uelsmann who begins work without preconceived ideas and shares the truth that “one is more frequently blessed with ideas while working.” This project began with that philosophy in mind. As I worked, I focused on hands as a metaphor for the self. I took inspiration from German photographer Annegret Soultau whose morbidly stitched self-portraits inspired the use of string, wire and other ties. I used objects that carry metaphorical symbolism to ideas of the human experience; keeping in mind Uelsmann’s idea that the best work obviously symbolic but not symbolically obvious. The various ties worked to highlight the juxtaposition of the human self, ideas and the connections we form.
This portfolio was shot digitally with a Nikon Z5 in the SVSU photography studio. The community studio was vital to the completion of this work not only in space but also in the energy, help and support from my peers. I used an arrangement of split and fill lighting and scrims to achieve the illusion that the hands exist apart from a single person’s identity to force the idea that these hands are not a particular human’s experience but rather a particular experience of humans. This separation from the individual is further accentuated by the negative space around the subjects hiding their physicality in the darkness of the background. The use of a 170-200mm focal length was also vital to achieving separation as the narrow field of vision allowed for greater control of exposure.
The final images were inkjet printed on Epson Fine Art fiber paper and traditionally hand mounted, matted and framed by me because of the influence of Hideki Kihata on my artistic ethos. This ethos was also important in relation to my work as this collection is presented with as minimal editing as needed for the standard deviation between digital images and print in order to achieve a level of authenticity of my photographic craft.