I grew up on a stretch of the I-5 corridor in Oregon, staring out the backseat window, shuffling from one parent to the next. Every other weekend, I made the scenic trek from Douglas to Lane County, losing myself in the passing landscape. I have always been a quiet observer, intensely drawn to the details in nature. Little did I know at the time that my childhood would lay the foundation for my love of both artistic beauty and storytelling. Be it through pictures or words, I have always been drawn to communicating feelings and thoughts with others.
To be certain, I have not taken a traditional path towards an MFA in Photography, but it doesn’t mean that the journey has been any less passionate. I have always had one foot in the arts, taking classes in photography, ceramics and painting while growing up. As a young professional, I chose what I felt would be a safer route, majoring in business as an undergraduate and eventually working in business. Thankfully however, those technicolor dreams of my youth never faded, and I eventually gravitated towards the Certificate of Photography program at the University of Washington. I approached the program with abandon, embracing the artistic and technical aspects of photography. I did not want the experience to end. Thereafter, I enrolled in Art 140C, a photo theory class that was literally life-changing. In the wake of my photography certificate, this course opened my eyes to the notion of contextualizing my work through the pursuit of an MFA in Photography.
It is time for the artist and the storyteller within me to assimilate new knowledge and skills in photomedia. As an artist, I am both a technician and a theorist, often electing to focus upon the translation of private lives and feelings into an artistic medium. To me, fine art is simply another form of prose, another vehicle for telling life’s story. My final project for Art 140C is a very personal example of this dynamic at work. Through my travels to the First Nations outpost of Esperanza, and as seen in my related portfolio, my camera became a conduit for conversion and the formation of intimate communications with a remote population. Historic marginalization and triumph over life’s inequities were commonly stoked themes that evolved on film as a result. Here, the lens truly became a gateway to some very complex souls, and allowed me to speak volumes without a single word. Building upon such profound experiences is my goal Fine art photography itself is a broad field, but one which will enable me to define my own artistic niche through exploration and innovation.
Through the MFA program, I am seeking to collaborate with dynamic and like-minded artists and creators. I look forward to developing strong mentoring relationships with outstanding educators and practitioners, through participation in an academically rigorous program. I have been strongly influenced as a photographer by artists including Alain Laboile, Drew Geraci, and Michael Kenna. In the course of my graduate work, there is no doubt that I will embrace the inspiration of others as I continue my development as an artist.
I envision a multi-focused approach to my studies, with attention to areas including digital photography with the addition of movement through video. In particular, I am interested in cinemagraphs and time lapse sequencing. I also intend to explore the art of visual storytelling, which will undoubtedly mesh well with my love of prose and communicating ideas through pictures. My prior studies and business background have afforded me considerable experience in employing technology at work, and that will certainly be valuable in terms of exploring computer based technologies for the artist. As a traditionalist, I also embrace the step away from digitization and an opportunity to work in the darkroom with black and white photography, as well as long exposures. Finally, there is the tremendous opportunity to further my knowledge of history, art history, and the influence of these forces upon photography as an art form, and as a medium for communication.
To have reached this point, where I am steadfast in my commitment to an MFA in Photography required me to step outside of my self-imposed box and to follow my passion and my natural gifts. I look forward to an opportunity to continue growing through pursuit of this degree.