I use photography to investigate nature, culture and the body, merging beauty and intimacy with abstract narrative to reveal subtle nuances of identity and make commentary on changing social attitudes. My ability to put my subjects at ease and the depiction of my subjects in an honest manner comes from many years of working in stylistic nude portraiture in the historically male tradition of erotic tableaux. My ongoing portraiture series of male nudes ‘Mandwich’, female nudes ‘Velour Girls’, the ‘Sitting City’ artist portraits, and self-portraits ‘MLSP’ share similar processes and aesthetics, and are conceptualized with an intuitive approach to represent my subjects. Each sitter is represented by elements that reflect their creative style, mediums or personal inspirations; resulting in portraits that candidly portray individuals in a vulnerable, intimate manner, yet are imbued with a sense of empowerment.
Shot entirely on-location in nature, indoors, or in a fantasy setting, a fortuitous balance of stylized art direction and individuality appears in the images. My use of staged settings, props or wardrobe is directly informed by a filmmaking background where I learned lighting and art direction. I shoot on-location as I have no studio and prefer to be influenced by the physical confines or expanse and the aesthetic characteristics of an available space.
I credit my background in intimate figurative work as essential in developing my reputation of trust with my sitters, creating a relaxed, collaborative atmosphere that enables them to open themselves toward my process; thus taking the picture follows easily. Using the body, whether my own or others, as a palette to explore the idea of flesh and how our culture responds to it in contemporary settings or in nature, gives rise to dialogue on beauty, gender and social perceptions while pushing boundaries -be they personal, political or visual. While nudes appear in the classic forms of sculpture and painting, the discourse that surrounds the nude as viewed through color photography is often relegated to being pornographic or prurient; this presents an interesting challenge on how to elevate a genre in an elegant or inspiring way. I have consciously chosen to make color nudes and portraits in order to reclaim the idea that the sensuality of the body can be represented in a classy and striking way.