My photographs hold the tension of being and becoming. My work taps on the shared experience of longing and loss, and reminds us what it is to be human. The portraits I create invite the viewer to reflect on the complexity of life's difficulties. Ultimately my work’s central theme is empathy — the quality that opens space within us to be with someone in their experiences as opposed to having sympathy for them. I often use identity and embodiment as narratives from which to explore this central concept in my photographs. 

I’m currently working in large format analog photography, photographing people with common experiences — experiences I often share with them. A recent series of mine, Rose Portraits, shows 12-women without makeup, “Thursday afternoon” hair, with bare chest and shoulders, against a floral background. At a near 1:1 ratio, the women gaze back at the viewer, seeming to ask: “Do you see me?” For my current series, Portraits on Estrangement, I photographed adults estranged from one or both parents on a neutral background in black and white. Titling in this series reveals a bit into the lives of those who are surviving estrangement — a common world-wide family secret that few talk about openly. The series unmasks the deep complexity often found in familial relationships, and offers viewers an opportunity to acknowledge their own relational losses with the person in the portrait before them. 

My work is influenced by Catherine Opie, particularly her ability to push the boundaries of portraiture through telling stories of herself and from within her LGBTQ community. I’m also impacted by the emotive power found in Rineke Dijkstra’s portraits. Walker Evans’ street car photographs were an early inspiration, as well. 

Size and scale, color, and lighting are particularly important in my work. Photographing with a large format 4x5 camera allows the individuals I work with to be vulnerable in a way that is otherwise difficult to evoke in a photographic setting. The scale of my printed photographs also invites the viewer into a kind of intimacy with the person pictured, as many of my portraits are printed at or near a 1:1 ratio. Color often takes on narrative qualities in my portraits and engages questions about what its presence, hue, shade, or saturation imply in the conversations my work creates around embodied identity. Minimal lighting setups permit room for shadow and light to meet, further deepening the concepts of longing and loss in the work. My approach also enhances the subtleties of texture and detail,  drawing attention to moments in the work that may otherwise be missed. 

My photographs display our shared humanity, particularly when our experiences are unique, by bearing witness to our own narratives through gazing upon another’s. My hope for those who engage with my work is that they are reminded not only to be gentle with those hurting around them but to also be gentle with themselves, as the work surfaces past or present parts of their own story that are perhaps still hurting as well. May these moments leave us with an expanded empathy with one another and ourselves. 

Using Format