So I’m developing a new series, the details of which will be forthcoming, but in the meantime it’s got me thinking about what I’m trying to show with my work. At their most basic my portraits are depictions of beauty, both literal and interpretive. My personal motto is ‘share beauty with the world’. But this in of itself isn’t enough. There are countless artists sharing beauty with the world, and I’m glad for it, but it doesn’t exactly make one stand out with a clear message. What is yet another photographer showing yet another image of a beautiful person? I’ve made more than my fair share, and while blissful to behold, they often say very little. Note that this isn’t a criticism. I love beauty portraits. To me beauty portraits are like chocolate. Sweet and decadent, but they don’t always feed my soul. And one cannot live by chocolate alone.
“When we place aside our judgement on others and look at the challenges they’ve faced, we start to really understand who they are and, more importantly, why they are the way they are.”
Every single person in the world has beauty in them. Even the worst of us. So what defines the overall beauty of the human condition? Is it some benevolent nature, kindness and compassion towards others for example, or perhaps it’s some more primal, darker quality we prefer not to acknowledge in mixed company. Many would suggest that being human is not beautiful at all, that we are a grotesque, cancerous species. On some days it’s hard to refute that. On some days I’ll probably explore that.
Needless to say this question is complicated, but a picture need not be. We can take parts of our human nature and simplify them visually. I believe what makes us grow, what develops us into the best version of ourselves is not what we’re given, but rather what we earn. It’s our struggles, our battles, internal and in the world, that make us into who we truly are at the spiritual level. This applies to the individual, to a society, and to our species as a whole. When we place aside our judgement on others and look at the challenges they’ve faced, we start to really understand who they are and, more importantly, why they are the way they are. We might even come to love some part of them, despite not condoning what they do or how they behave. Indeed the world would be a better place if we did.
It’s these conflicts I will be exploring in my art photography. I’ll still continue to create portraits of beauty and explore the simple sensuality of shibari.. a chocolatier wouldn’t give up their craft just because what they create isn’t a proper meal. Chocolate makes people happy. But with my fine art I want to dive deeper. I’ll explore the struggles of the individual and the struggles of society, and in so doing I hope to reveal what really makes us such beautiful, strange creatures.