Artist Statement

“Please include your artist’s statement with your submission….”   I’ve received this request countless times over the years and I have always felt a sense of dread when I tried to write one. Describing my “vision” as a photographer in a compelling fashion is far more difficult than you might think without leaning on clichés…And nobody's going to roll out the red carpet at a high-end gallery based on an artist’s statement that says, “I really like pretty fish so I take pictures of them…” Yet for a lot of years, that description of my work was as accurate as any other.

As time passed and the scope of my photography broadened, the task of creating an artist’s statement became even more daunting. If I couldn’t articulate my vision for underwater photography how could I possibly do so now that my work included a host of terrestrial subjects? What single theme did they all share as shot through my lens? After all of these years I think I finally understand why I’ve struggled to answer this: I shoot any given scene more from a technical standpoint than an artistic one. We’re inundated with natural beauty; that part of my job has already been taken care of. For me, the technical ability to document it in such a way that creates an emotional response is the tricky part. From metering strobe light underwater, to digitally blending numerous exposures into a single image, or stacking filters and exposing a subject for several minutes, the techniques I use vary according to what I see in front of me. My "vision" is dynamic and scene-specific. My compositional eye hasn't changed much over the years but my technical abilities certainly have and this has led to perhaps my greatest accomplishment as a photographer: The ability to look beyond a scene and see what's possible.

 

Technique Examples

 Green Sea Turtle, Bonaire. Dual Ikelite strobes used to bring out the color that would otherwise be lost to light diffusion underwater.

Green Sea Turtle, Bonaire. Dual Ikelite strobes used to bring out the color that would otherwise be lost to light diffusion underwater.

 Tone-mapped, seven exposure HDR image of Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. On their own, none of the seven exposures worked but a compelling image was possible by combining them.

Tone-mapped, seven exposure HDR image of Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. On their own, none of the seven exposures worked but a compelling image was possible by combining them.

 Nine minute exposure of sunrise over Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin. By stacking series of filters it's possible to achieve very long exposures, smoothing the water in the process.

Nine minute exposure of sunrise over Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin. By stacking series of filters it's possible to achieve very long exposures, smoothing the water in the process.