Photography As Understanding; My Secret World Revealed

Someone recently asked me what I shoot when I'm not working. Pausing, my mind went blank. "What do you mean?" I said. They responded, "you know, what do you like to shoot for fun?" My eyes rolled towards the sky, the clouds floating effortlessly against the endless blue horizon. "I'll have to think and get back to you..."

Every photograph I take is a living 3 dimensional place. You may only see a two dimensional object, from one perspective and call it a picture, but it's much more than that to me. It was an entire 360 degree living and breathing experience. Photography has always been a tool I use to understand the world, including life, death, and my own soul so to speak. My job is to frame the past in order to preserve it. Something you can hold onto forever. You can do that in a picture, you can't do that in real life.

For example, a closeup photograph of my grandfather's intricate and weathered hand (not shown), laying prone against a sterile white hospital bed sheet. This hand containing the fingerprints identifying us on a forensic level as an individual, but also the tool we use to work our entire life with. We use them to feed our family, to learn our trades, to hold a child, to clutch a loved one, to say hello, to wave goodbye. What is a photograph of a hand?

It's impossible to deny, surrounding these personal works are the circumstance of whence they were captured. And so it's like for many artists, our best work you'll never see. And our own best work we may not care to see. (Below: Work never seen outside personal archives).

So what do I shoot for fun? Perhaps a better question, what do I photograph for my own fulfillment? I photograph the sparks of emotion that burn the elements of life deep within my mind. And so it goes. Somedays it's a curse to have such a keen visual memory and appreciation for the subtlest of things, other times it's a gift. But i'm most grateful for one thing. The ability to do something impossible everyday. Freeze life and put it in a frame. Put it on the wall, or tuck it away under my bed.

I live in a still world amidst one forever changing. And sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference, which is real?