I developed my passion for photography since childhood while growing up in the Kansas City area, often focusing on the city itself as my subject while learning traditional darkroom processes in High School. At the University of Kansas, I was immersed in photojournalism for two semesters before intuition and desire led me back to the artistic side. Living in Chicago after college allowed for exploration in street photography as I started to build my kit of equipment, then a move to the West Coast spurred many photography centered road trips from my home base of Los Angeles. I returned to Kansas City to focus on rural scenery in the surrounding areas and ventured to Colorado often to shoot in the Rocky mountains. I now live in the Pacific Northwest and am immersed in a new climate and region to shoot. All of these experiences lead me to my current photographic focus: to simply share my sense of wonder for the American West and to spark civil and thoughtful discussion on how to approach modern challenges pertaining to land use as environmental, commercial, individual and public interests collide.
The vast Western landscape fascinates me and did even before my first entranced drive of the entire distance to the West Coast. I constantly shoot in different locations with different goals, but everything plays into the sense of discovery that the vast scenes and stoic symbols provide. Bison are a strong focal point in my work as of late, as I’m drawn to their intimidating presence and am inspired to keep learning about their turbulent history, resiliency, relative conservation success, and vital role as an ecosystem engineer. The human element goes much deeper than our modern collective care in environmental and conservation goals, as the Native Americans who revered and depended upon this animal witnessed their mass eradication during European settlement. In exploring cases such as the near extinction of bison, damming (and un-damming) of rivers, reintroduction of wolves, protection of endangered species, agriculture, ranching, and more, we can learn about the subsequent tradeoffs and repercussions of purposeful and inadvertent human actions. The ripple effects are profound and bring to light the interrelatedness of all living things and the effects on our environment, for better or worse. To me, in this vein, all subject matter found is pertinent as part of the story. Photographically, I’ll venture from barns and livestock on ranches and farms to found symmetry in flora and forests within the most protected lands. These are all elements that make up the modern West and showcase what our country has become. As our population grows, I’m curious as to how we’ll proceed and hope to be a positive voice for striking a better balance of inclusion for natural habitats and beings.
I continue to use the traditional methodology that I learned when shooting film, now with a digital camera. A variety of lenses and filters accommodate my shooting needs to get the capture I want in the field, then I use modern editing software to get the images from capture to print ready. In my digital darkroom, I use editing tools that mimic the darkroom techniques that I learned in my youth to achieve my final vision. I often shoot in winter and inclement weather as it helps show the unforgiving nature of the West, and in editing, I often play upon the cold and monochromatic tones to match the feeling of being present with the scene and subjects.
I print on brushed aluminum as well as deep matte and pearl [metallic] photo papers. My main display are brushed aluminum pieces which are printed directly to the surface with archival quality pigment inks cured with UV light. In skipping the use of bright white inks, it allows the raw material to show through which gives the reflective shine in highlight areas. I attach wooden block float mounts and a wire hanger which allows for a distraction-free, modern look without requiring a frame. For paper, I love the pearlescent nature of metallic photo paper and believe that it gives the imagery a modern feel, and at times I’ll use deep matte for a different effect.