self-portrait | 2014

'I'VE TOLD YOU: NO ONE BECOMES AN ARTIST UNLESS THEY HAVE TO.' - JANET FITCH | WHITE OLEANDER

As a child, pen and paper were among my dearest companions, followed closely by music and books.  I grew up in a family that appreciated the arts and these values were instilled in me from birth.  Profound truths could be found in lyrics and guitar riffs; morals and life lessons were only a page turn away.  I was always encouraged to read, to discover, and to express myself in my own way that which moved me.  I knew very early on that I had a deep compulsion to paint pictures with words.

It wasn't until the birth of my son that I picked up the camera.  I began with a reliable yet limiting Minolta 35mm, propping up my infant child on pillows with a black sheet hanging behind him.  I had no understanding of light and those first few rolls show Dakota with red eyes and harsh shadows streaked across his skin.  I remained determined and immersed myself in study and practice, longing to capture the art of the new life I was lucky enough to call my own creation.

My understanding of and love for photography grew alongside my child.  His new smiles blossomed and my lens eagerly devoured every one.  It was he who taught me how to truly see.  I realized that the light isn't ours to own, it's merely borrowed and reflected back; that moment preservation is as humbling as anything I'd experienced, and that there was a deep beauty swimming beneath almost every surface; it was simply a matter of holding your breath and diving down to find it.  Art is the most delicious salve: it heals, it renews, it awakens, it liberates.  It may not be a cure, but it can transform pain into something less ugly, something that only enriches who we already are, and that in and of itself is miraculous.

I am an artist because I am a survivalist.  There is no choice.