If you know me well enough, you can understand I appreciate black and white photography more than any other art form in the world. If you know me even better than that, you can understand I appreciate colour more than anything that has been reshaped from stardust and regurgitated into a living—or dead—thing on our home, Earth. If you know me well enough, you know me as the word I hate using to describe myself: an artist. And it’s true. For better or for worse, I am an artist. Not merely the “picture maker” I say I am, but more of someone who wants to recapture the imagery better than the eyes ever can. A darker, yet dreamlike quality that provides a new landscape (oh, the irony…), making the most simple of things appear complex and new.
In this understanding of what the goal of my art is, you understand the aesthetic value of the things I create, but deeper down than just the design and look of my photographs. I try to grab the viewer of my art with more than the beauty of a subject or by forcing them to take a look at my portfolio. A body of work which I aim to use to provide and explain my skill set without the use of a single letter of the alphabet; an experience. To show my diversity as a photographer, as well as highlighting the specific areas of the art that I have grown fond of and execute with almost-perfect mastery...
Which leads me to the portrait: the most interactive and personal style of photography dating back to the earliest forms of photography. People wished to capture two things: themselves and the people around them. But why the human being? Why not the ever lurking things that surrounded them and the places they called home? In my experiences with photography I have found the portrait the most personal, the most creative and perhaps one of my favourite styles of photography. We never perceive ourselves as others perceive us, and photography allows a side of ourselves to be exposed into an everlasting moment and highly displayable visual art. The art of photography is thoroughly questioned due to its ease of access and easy development of skills within the field, but like any art, photography is also very subjective. I find myself viewing new and evolving forms of photography and asking myself “Is this art?” and “Will I ever add up to this?” I had spent more time questioning the motives of other artists instead of focusing on the more important part of my artistic process — the actual creation of images.
In my first experiences with photography, I wanted to take pictures of everything I saw. Signs, people I was with, my record player. I drew myself to a certain subject the most: people. With every medium I could possibly get my hands on — disposable cameras, the camera on my phone, VHS still cameras, Polaroids, Photoshop and finally, my loving DSLR — I investigated techniques to develop my own unique aesthetic and techniques for creating great images. With my love for the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, I developed a sweet liking towards monochromatic pieces. At first they reminded me of the black and white sheet music so familiar to me in my ensemble days and my all nighters where red eyes and no sleep were my only concern owards my beautiful compositions.
Outside of my photographs, I believe my other art—which I guess you could say you are experiencing now—is my ability to try to rearrange the thoughts in my head into actual words comprehensible by the world. When I was younger, my passion was writing. Even before I dwelled in the worlds of music and visual art, I had always loved writing. My peers loathed it, but I always found solace in being able to communicate new (or at least what I believed to be new) ideas to the world, the world being my teachers who skimmed—or maybe even read—through to give me the passing grade I ached for.
With this, identity has probably been the biggest struggle as a photographer and writer. I am always faced with the question of who I see myself as, as well as the questions presented in the sorting of my identity as a being. Although I find myself constantly thinking, and at times stressed, I know one day I will wake up in my cold bed and know for sure how I want to create, apply and showcase my art and where I want to be as a person, even though I find myself evolving by the second. I, patiently, am still waiting for that day.
In connection to art, during my recent visit to Los Angeles, I visited the J. Paul Getty Museum, which contains paintings, photographs and manuscripts from the 16th century to the late 19th century. From Rubens’ The Entombment to Van Gogh’s Irises, the museum contained and endless amount of beautiful and priceless art. Only the brave can experience it all in one visit. But even then, a risk haunts a challenge. Though I thought it would be a way to distract myself from the congested city, I found the museum just to be in the spirit of Los Angeles: busy.
Between my cheap nylon duffel bag and underwhelming airline food, I found peace in the artificial lights that drove my creativity through the roof during my visit to Los Angeles. Of course I loved being around my friends and the family of my friends, but the quietness and the freedom to work as I wished is something I would not trade the world for. Being Los Angeles was not my place of residence, I was ticked at the thought of not having my messy desk next to me. Despite this, I know as my creative work progresses throughout the next couple of months, years, and even decades perhaps, I can expect to see a certain amount of change. But even though I want to change, I constantly find myself gratefully stuck in the rut I was meant to be in. Is it for the better or the worse? Patience is not one of my virtues, but I can surely attempt to make it one.