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In 1995 I had the opportunity to study in Ireland for a year. Of course, I took a camera, but only with the intention of memorializing my adventure. It was a basic camera, one I would not miss if it ever got lost or stolen, but I soon found myself fully dependent upon its presence and longing for it whenever I left it behind. I began experimenting with composition, as well as exposure times and lighting. I became more and more adventurous with not only style of photography, but also the means to get “the shot”. It was an amazing experience and I returned home with a plethora of work to examine and develop.
One of the biggest lessons I learned during this year of emersion was my lack of patience. I am not a patient photographer. I do not enjoy planning out a location, setting up the shot, and sitting and waiting for the light to be just right. It is a personality thing. I am always thinking that there is another shot that I could be missing while I wait for the planned shot to take form (if it indeed happens). It took me some time to accept this aspect of my personality and find my method of shooting that worked best for me.
My work focused on landscapes and architecture for about ten years. I enjoyed this time but found myself always measuring my work against the work of others. Though it is important to see what others are creating to learn and inspire, I found that I was often overcome with insecurity and feelings of inadequacy, feelings that fed my perfectionist tendencies and corrupted my vision. I grew frustrated with my work and found it increasingly difficult to get excited about any of the photography I produced. At this point it became increasingly important for me to find a new way to shoot the world around me and so a new journey began.
It was at this point that I put my camera down and began thinking about how I might express myself in a new and different way. I read about photography and researched different styles. I studied my own work and reflected on what I found inspirational—what type of photograph got me excited, what features of the photograph were most interesting to me. I stopped worrying about what others considered important; what others considered a prerequisite for a great photograph. I considered what types of art got me excited, brought forth emotion, and how that was accomplished. I considered who I am as a person, an artist, a creator. I asked myself who I wanted to be and what I wanted to accomplish. Though I occasionally took photographs, it was usually without intention and just for fun. This process of rediscovery lasted about five years, and though that may seem to be a long time, I believe it was time well spent for, at last, I was able to articulate what I wanted from my work.
I have always loved Impressionist paintings, chiefly Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Paul Gaugin. I am particularly drawn to Monet’s later work, including the series of water lily paintings. For me, they represent an interpretation of life that I truly embrace. Their brush work feels both bold and subtle, their use of light and color breathes life into their landscapes and reminds me of the continuous motion of life, the inconsistent, ever-changing reality in which we live. For these same reasons, I cannot ignore Vincent van Gogh. There is nothing subtle about van Gogh’s work. I love his ability to capture the movement of air, particularly in his cypress paintings. Feeling a strong connection to their work inspires me to seek out the impression of the moment without the exactness of detail, to embrace the reality of change through movement, to evoke emotion through color and texture. I want to accomplish this with the image itself and without the use of digital effects; I want to create impressionist photographs.
The Eastern Shore of Maryland takes pride in its history and lifestyle. It celebrates its colonial roots through architecture and events. It carefully guards its rural nature of farming and fishing. Water seeps into the fabric of the landscape so fully that it permeates the psyche of the culture and is carried with its inhabitants wherever they may travel. I have lived in many different places and find myself not only returning to this little peninsula on the east coast, but a direct correlation between the joy of a place and the availability of water. Because of this, focusing on water feels like a natural extension of my creativity and so I have focused my work on reflections. The nature of water provides an endless supply of opportunity, allowing me to revisit favorite locations again and again with equal anticipation of potential discovery.
My intention with the reflections collection is to capture a feeling or sensation that comes from the place where I am shooting. I want to share the universality of life through the uniqueness of my surroundings, celebrate the Eastern Shore as a microcosm of humanity with just a touch of nostalgia. I do not wait for the “perfect” light, but rather seek the perfect moment. My work is proactive, engaged, and inspired by single snippets of time.
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