I have had a love of photography for almost my entire life. At the age of twelve I discovered my first camera store when my mother took me with her on a shopping trip to a nearby city. My mother had a passion for antique furniture and we were visiting a favorite store. I had noticed going into the shop that a few doors down was a camera store, I was immediately intrigued. I asked my mother if I could go in and look around. My mother was a very gracious woman who would always encourage me in any interest that I had, so of course she said yes. That was the beginning of my journey with photography. Soon after that first visit my parents bought me an inexpensive camera and I started to capture images of the world around me and have continued to this day.
My images, even in the early days, were different than other photographers. I have always had a fascination for how the camera makes the world look different and ways that this can be emphasized. When I am at a location capturing images, it is like I am having a conversation with the work. The first few exposures that I make guide me towards making more purposeful images while I move in closer or adjust my position to the subject in one way or another. This refining process is like artistic exploration, visual problem solving, discovering the hidden richness that hides from us in plain sight for which we are too busy to see.
I started what might be called my photographic career on the high school newspaper, photographing sporting events and musical competitions. As an undergraduate student in college I studied photography and related courses, but it wasn’t until I went to graduate school at The Savannah College of Art and Design that I became aware of the many possibilities that photography could achieve artistically. I earned my Master of Fine Arts degree there, which enabled me to acquire a teaching position at the Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri in 2015. I currently teach three photography classes at the university as an adjunct.
The Democracy of Vision
“I had this notion of what I called a democratic way of looking around, that nothing was more or less important.” – William Eggelston
The images I produce are taken in various locations and situations. I capture images that are both urban and rural, of the natural as well as the man-made world. This work at its most basic is about seeing the world in a way that everything is relevant, everything is interesting and there is potential for beauty everywhere. If the gaze of the camera is captured in such a way as to make connections between otherwise dispirit subjects, imposing the same style on everything, a visual democracy can emerge where everything is worthy of attention. Trees and buildings, treated with the same stylistic approach, become part of the same aesthetic.
William Eggleston once produced a series of images in a project he called “The Democratic Forest”, the title and theme which I have borrowed heavily for my own project.
The goal of my work is to take Eggleston’s idea of “The Democratic Forest” and apply it to every interesting item that I come across in my photographic life. This is my democratization of vision.