What is it about portraits that is so fascinating? From old family photos to J.C. Penny’s studio portraits to high fashion editorials and fine art, the portrait holds a timeless allure. Portraits tell our stories, they tell us where we’ve been, who we’ve been, and who we want to be. While I do not believe that portraits present us with a realistic portrayal of the individual we find captured there – forever frozen in a single fragment of a second – I do believe that portraits tell us something about our humanity. They also provide us with a window into the past. All photographs exist solely in the past; they become relics the moment the shutter clicks.

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This series of images sort of sprung up of its own accord. I created a couple portraits with a dear friend of mine which were heavily influenced by the imagery in the 1928 French silent film La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc). If you’re a movie geek like me, you may know that this film is widely respected for its spectacular minimalist imagery, as well as the unearthly performance of French actress Renée Jeanne Falconetti. My friend, Hannah, is someone who I perceive as a fierce and powerful feminine force. She is someone I deeply respect and admire for her tenacious and independent spirit. Portraying her after this classic symbol of feminine will, perseverance, and resistance seemed like the perfect way to capture the juxtaposition of vulnerability and strength which I believe forges a truly unbreakable spirit.

The images which have followed likewise explore the enduring prowess of the feminine through classic symbols surrounding femininity.

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This series is about mystery. Not the kind of mystery you solve, but the mystery of that which cannot be understood, uncovered, or known. It is an exploration into the unknown without the typically desired end of revealing secrets.

Due to its inherently surreal nature, I find photography to be the perfect medium for evoking this sense of inscrutability. Photographs both reveal and obscure the reality of the single instance captured therein, thus mimicking our own limited perception of the world.

Since so many of the questions we ask through art, science, philosophy, etc. do not have definitive answers, the simple evocation of mystery becomes our source of meaning. The answer lies in the question itself: in the act of exploration rather than the result.

I believe that the questions we ask about god, death, and the nature of the universe have much more to do with a deep desire to understand the hidden parts of ourselves than the far corners of a vast and distant cosmos. As such, these images are portraits in which the face is obscured by some object. The meaning of the objects and the meaning of that which is obscured is up to the viewer to decide. Or perhaps not to decide.

Like a story with an open ending, these images are meant to evoke and deepen mystery, not to provide explanations. The questions we ask in life are rarely answered to satisfaction. Even the events of our own lives lead, more often than not, to riddles that will never be solved. If we can enjoy the mere process of inquiry and find fulfillment in curiosity itself, we may come as close as ever to the secrets of life.

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In the philosophical writings of Immanuel Kant he speaks of his idea of the sublime. The experience of the sublime, for Kant, comes in part as the result of a failure in human cognition. When we find ourselves in the presence of something truly magnificent in scope or design our minds attempt to process and understand it, but we are incapable of fully comprehending what is before us and it is this failure which produces within us the feeling of awe which Kant referred to as the sublime.

This may also be thought of as a spiritual experience. It is a moment in which the shear enormity of the universe presents itself to us and reminds us of our own insignificance. Paradoxically this experience of insignificance is not limiting, but freeing: it reminds us how petty are the complaints and discomforts of our daily lives and allows our joyful moments to reveal themselves as the tiny blessings that they are.

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This is an intensely personal series of images. In part because they are all self portraits and in part because they say something about who I am at the core.

I have gone through an intense period of change over the last two years. Most notably I quit drinking and have found myself trying to remember who I was before I began my decline into alcoholism.

What I have discovered is that I was and always have been exactly the lost and confused person who attempted to find solace in escaping herself.

I am still this person. I have changed in that I have chosen to stop chasing a phantom that promises release, but only brings more pain and suffering. I have chosen to fight the good fight and try to find a way to live and be in this world.

Sometimes I feel like I’m succeeding at finding my path and others I feel like I’m wandering in the dark.

This lyric from one of my favorite musicians, Elliott Smith, conveys these feelings far better than any words of my own ever could.

"I got static in my head
The reflected sound of everything
Tried to go to where it led
But it didn't lead to anything"

- Elliott Smith

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