As a photographer I focus on issues of cultural identity and memory and construct contemporary narratives which create an opportunity for discourse where individual and collective memory can cultivate new investigations about identity and place. A seminal aspect of my work lies in the territory of family. Home and family have functioned as subject, provided a physical source archive, and served as a catalyst or inspiration for all of my work. Through the lens of family I have explored portraiture, war and its ramifications, as well as forgotten and soon to be forgotten histories and cultures of the south.
The portraits of Point of Origin mark the beginning of my forays into the complex nature of memory, home, place, and identity within the southern vernacular. In 1995 I left the south and moved to NY. I started a record label, played in bands, and eventually went back to art school. In 2004, after living in NY and DC, I visited home again. Experiencing the south with new eyes, I saw my small home town and upbringing in a way I had never seen it before. My perceptions about my self and my childhood, colored with new experiences and information, became simultaneously darker, raw, and beautiful.
Point of Origin is a subjective and personal re-enactment of my childhood in Statesville NC. The stage is the rural south. The actors (when possible) are my actual family members and close family friends whose remembrance are the seeds for these photographs. These portraits are specific to my experiences and I consider them self portraits disguised as environmental documentation. Certain characters are portrayed multiple times to represent the various steps of transformation and awareness children go through as the adults around them lose their perceived perfection. This body of work is an ongoing and evolving project documenting the shifting perceptions that reshape our recollections of the past. As time has passed this work has unfolded in chapters. The first chapter is The Creekhouse Log, which recreates early childhood experiences. The second chapter, Habits of Being, are portraits of adults from my childhood perspective. The final chapter The Rain Crow (still in progress) will address the role reversal of adult children as caregivers.
The camera I use in this work is an 8x10 view camera. Point of Origin is emotive and filled with reverence. I use an 8×10 view camera because it slows me down and creates an image that feels grounded and present. I use film for my black and white work because digital images feel very different… cold and processed. This work is about my family. Touching, embracing and sometimes fighting with prints while in the act of making them just feels right.