Artist Statment and CV
[su_dropcap style=”flat”size=”2″]I[/su_dropcap]nfrared photography has captivated me ever since I took my first black and white photograph many years ago. I immediately felt immersed in the billowy clouds set against black skies. A lot of time has passed since then, and my interests have directed me to numerous projects over the years, but infrared is something that persistently draws me back.
I have a scientific way of looking at things. When something catches my eye, I often wonder what happened to make it that that way, or become what it is today. Rocks, minerals, fossils, inspire me with time lines and endurance. The stars, meteors, and celestial bodies impress me with extremes of scale and distance. Infrared photography has consistently evoked my creative and conceptual interests. It has become a way for me to reinvent the world, as if looking into some sort of parallel dimension. Although that’s not what is actually going on, there are many interesting and unique characteristics of infrared photography which captivate the mind both emotionally and cognitively.
The most recent developments in digital cameras have allowed them to become fully functional tools for the infrared photographer. Previously, technical limitations prevented the simplest of camera functions, like focusing and exposure. Now the cameras act as cyborg like devices out of sci-fi movies, and allow the photographer to see and capture the world under infrared light. This increased ease of use has allowed me to focus on the creative and physical capacities of the medium without being overly occupied with technical issues.
Throughout my Artistic career I have been exploring issues surrounding the physical and conceptual perception of the world around me. Ranging from the properties of light and matter, to the construction of social and cultural identities, I have an ongoing interest in how the world is understood. Our five senses are all that human beings have to perceive ones environment; this is a physical capacity of all animals in general. Our minds are what create an understanding of one’s physical perceptions, primarily revolving around interaction and civilization. Infrared photography allows me to explore both science and society simultaneously by challenging ones physical and cognitive understanding of the perceived world.
Hamilton Escarpment Project
[su_dropcap style=”flat”size=”2″]T[/su_dropcap]his is an ongoing project that explores the Hamilton portion of the Niagara Escarpment, and its immediate area. This region is geographically located on ancient sea beds carved into shape during the last ice age. With waterways that feed Lake Ontario and escarpments flanking the city itself. The region is full of unique features and still retains large forested areas; however, Hamilton is big, and development increasingly encroaches on the remaining slivers of green spaces. This dynamic between natural and urban environments provides me an area which is conceptually and visually abundant. Within this background, I explore the very nature of perception itself using infrared photography as a tool to perceive the world around me beyond the capacity of my eyes and memories.
This project utilizes the properties of color infrared photography to create images which not only engage the viewer visually, but also cognitively. Looking at an I.R. photo can be similar to seeing a stunning sunset as if for the first time, part of what makes them interesting is that we don’t usually see the world in that way. When something is seen for the first time, a memory of it has to be created; all the sensory information is received, processed and developed to form an understanding of what is being perceived. This memory is used over and over again, and becomes part of a subconscious memory, replacing perception when the two are similar. Infrared photography challenges subconscious memories and requires a more active engagement with the image. The result is a familiar, and yet foreign, conception of the scene, one which relies more on perceptual understanding then subconscious memories.
Exploring these and other phenomena associated with infrared photography, I found this project evolving into more than a creative endeavour. Seeing the world in infrared through almost daily outings, I found variety and richness, where previously I had found uniformity. Watching salmon run in the rivers, caves and cliffs, waterfalls at every turn, plants and trees, the occasional dear; all revealed the diverse nature of the place I called home. Seeing this environment in infrared light reveals features in a manner that gives them a new life.
Although not as exotic as some parallel dimension, infrared photography gives images an otherworldly character. It creates vibrant seductive pieces that not only revel in color, but also inspire a reassessment of how the natural environment is understood.