My photography examines the idea of transition in spatial, temporal, and conceptual terms, weaving together my background in fine arts photography, environmental studies, and urban planning. Through these filters, I explore the ephemeral qualities of mechanical landscapes, the interplay between identity and anonymity, and the residues of manual labor. I am particularly interested in finding ways to visually represent the inherent tension between the monumentality of mechanical systems and the delicately graceful movements that flow from machinery of different scales. In addressing this balance, I aim to unpack the static nature of still photography in relation to the kinetic qualities of the shifting environments I am drawn to – e.g., the industrialized food system, the manufacturing of basic necessities, and the generation of electricity.
While my photographs focus primarily on non-human objects, they are inherently human-centered. Fundamentally, I rely on extensive interactions with workers and industry representatives wherever I undertake my photographic explorations. By asking employees to accompany me while I photograph at their work place, I benefit from their expert knowledge of the site. As a result, my images present a dialectic between my own interests and the perspectives of my hosts. For example, I view a power plant partly through the eyes of the chief process engineer who guides me through the labyrinth of the plant’s buildings. Over many visits, the engineer learns what I seek, and I learn what he imagines I might like to see. Thus, the photography becomes part of a deeper anthropological investigation of the people, process, and physical manifestation that begets electricity.
American documentary photographers of the last century are my primary influences, starting with Lewis Hine and his “work portraits” of the 1920s. These starkly beautiful images, along with his daring portrayal of construction projects in the iconic “Men at Work” series, inform my sensibilities about the narrative of transition in the confines of a single image. The subtleties of political commentary in Mitch Epstein’s “American Power” series gives me valuable insight about the interplay of photographer and viewer. I am particularly influenced by how Epstein captures the essence of industrial landscapes, offering moving perspective on the scale and nature of consumption while refraining from direct critique. Finally, I take cues from the work of Zoe Leonard, especially her recent “Analogue” exhibition, which focuses attention on the visual textures of New York storefronts. Similarly, I strive to highlight the slippage of time in well-worn spaces with the kind of direct and clear-eyed perspective she brings to the machinations of commerce.
To bring all of these ideas to life, I work almost exclusively with two digital cameras. My primary camera is a Lumix, whose Leica optics support my consistent inclination to capture crisp and detailed images. In addition, I use a Nikon DSLR when working in low-light environments (e.g., the depths of a manufacturing facility). In these settings, my aim is to illuminate the frame with the details of production, thereby bringing light to the beauty of work that I might see less clearly without the aid of a camera.