Shades in the Dust

Shades in the Dust is a visual poem about the psychological and spiritual terrain upon which I have spent the majority of my life. This work marks a transition for me, a pivot point in my existence. There is a nexus here where boy has finally become man, and where I have begun to emerge from the fantasy of youth into the reality of adulthood.

I have found that the journey is one of letting go as much as it is of understanding the past. The shapes and colors in Shades in the Dust are echoes of the past and prognostications about the future. The narrative that emerges is one of tradition and fantasy, mystery and meaning: a haunted south, composed of strange signs, where the furies of nature and the pain of the past walk hand in hand. 

Purposefully abstract and fractured, this narrative is also archetypal in that it represents recurring childhood anxieties and a constant fixation with the concept of motherhood. The often-anonymous woman here is a symbol for the complex relationship between mother and child. The resulting photographs are images of moments both real and utterly imagined, as much dreams as they are memories.



Dreams Like Yesterday

The erosion of the landscape by human means irrevocably altered the habitat of the ivory-billed woodpecker. Actions like these have led to the implementation of systematic conservation methods. These methods, while helping to raise public awareness, have also led to a distortion of perceptions about endangered species.

 Within this world of conservation, the act of observation stands apart for me. Bird watching is an action that is separate from intervention. It is the act of seeing that most intrigues me. As in photography, observation, not just seeing, helps us to understand the world we live in.

The acts of watching, archiving and remembering are critical in constructing this work as a meditation on the fragility of existence. Our memories are mutable, our experience subject to alteration. Like the ivory-billed woodpecker, our existence is constantly in peril. We live our lives under the threat of multiple existential problems.

The examination of the narrative of the ivory-billed woodpecker has exposed these philosophical concerns for me. Inside that story, our own existence and meaning is interwoven. The cyclical nature of our lives becomes more transparent in this context and the paradox of our actions clearer. For every problem we look for a solution and with that solution we create another set of obstructions. 


Read my MFA thesis here: Scattered Feathers


 Built on Ashes