Somewhere between eye candy and mind candy is where I want my work to live, and my practice is all about finding the best mix of the two. I make many different styles of work, but I’m mostly known for my cinematic and surreal brand of portraiture.
Over the last decade, most of my work has leaned more heavily towards eye candy, because beauty tends to be an easier sell. The mind candy, however, is where I believe I make my best work.
The first long-term project I ever completed falls into this mind candy camp. Fresh out of college, I spent a year folding 1000 white paper cranes. I specifically wanted 1000 cranes because Asians believe that’s how many it costs to make a wish. I wanted them to be white, because I wanted to photograph them burning in the snow. By the end of the process, I realized a few things:
1) Apparently it’s really hard to burn things in a blizzard (the little jerks wouldn’t even light).
2) I couldn’t spend the whole year preparing for just one picture (especially if it doesn’t turn out), otherwise I was going to have a short career.
3) To make a wish come true, the best strategy is to work at it a little each day and hope for the best. That’s why it’s a wish.
Even though this felt like a massive failure to me at the time, it is, to this day, still my favorite thing I’ve ever made. Maybe because it consumed so much of my time/soul. But I realized over the years that this type of work is a luxury to make. Because there isn’t always a clear end product. It’s literally work I want to make, simply for the sake of doing it. This is work free from pretense and expectations, work I do just to know what it feels like to do it.
Right now I support myself through a combination of assisting commercial photographers, selling prints, and taking on commissions. I am reaching out to you, dear reader, to help me fund this less visible, but no less valuable, side of my work. Because, with your support, I can say “no” to a few junk gigs here and there, the kind I often take just to feed myself. Or stop worrying if a collector will like my work enough to buy it, so I can pay off my credit cards. Instead, I will be able to spend more time making the mind candy work that I think needs to be made, guilt free. Your dollars will help me buy that creative freedom.
Even better, through the fiscal sponsorship program at Fractured Atlas, now all your donations are tax deductible!
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