As a novelist, I create and people whole worlds—a reality that doesn’t exist, except on the page. I like to think I bring that same sensibility to my photography. Like a good novel, a good photograph should suggest other worlds, capturing the viewer with enough possibilities to keep him or her engaged much longer than a glance. A good image should stay with us the way a good story does.
I choose to photograph nudes for the same reason I open a novel with a scene that raises questions. Nakedness discomforts—sets you on the edge of your seat, so to speak, and makes you wonder what’s going on. Being human is as much about being sensual as being sentient. To deny that is the same as pretending not to see, but, of course, we do that all the time. We see swimmers. The water distorts their limbs, but our brain corrects what our eyes see and shows us swimmers. Same with dancers twirling. The motion can elongate limbs, but we see dancers. The camera, of course, doesn’t make that correction, meaning that, without manipulation, photographs can appear surreal. In photographs with water or motion, that can be pronounced. In more classic poses, it can be as subtle as a shadow, muscle, or line the eye misses in its attempt to simplify the chatter of incoming stimuli.
I choose to work with models within the “young and beautiful” range for the same reason I choose to work largely within the range of photo-realism. I want to surprise. To do that, I start with conventional beauty and then add a twist. I know from experience that if you make the story too preposterous, the reader will shrug it off as impossible, or, worse, not important. However, if you think you’re hearing the same-old story and then it twists, you’ll never hear that story the same way again. For me, the power of art to change perspective is in foiling expectation.
My fun away from the writing desk has shown at Camera Obscura, The Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Arts’ Trunk Show and Open Studios in both Boulder, Colorado and Albuquerque, New Mexico.