I believe images speak. They don’t simply document our memories, but also shape them, setting moments in our lives into a narrative. That idea guides my work; I strive to capture images that naturally suggest those real moments that are so meaningful to look back on later in life.
In seventh grade I bought my first 35mm SLR. It was cheap and didn’t even have a brand name, but it was my way of documenting my small world–I still have many of those early images to this day. Photographs of my family, pets, home and friends littered my desk and walls. It was my earliest introduction into what photography could do. Many of the images were blurry, underexposed or otherwise just plain bad, but it all taught me that images can be powerful tools for communication and for teaching us about our world.
High school introduced me to the world of the darkroom when I had the opportunity to learn how to process film and make prints in art classes. I continued to pursue darkroom photography in college, and I’m thankful to have had a professor that pushed me to pursue work that spoke. Developing this background in film photography provided me with the foundation to build my skills in digital photography. Each exposure has value in the grand scheme of things. I’ve never been someone to flippantly snap away without first considering what I’ve framed and the best way to capture it. That background informs the way I shoot and the way I process my images.
Methodical and deliberate both describe my mindset while shooting. I approach each session first as an observer; watching and listening to interactions between people helps me begin to compose images and build a relationship with my subjects. I enjoy most those images that come about from little or no direction on my part. But not simply being a documentarian is important for me to establish an outline within which to establish who my subjects are. A posed moment can be just as sincere as one that isn’t. What I love is looking back over a finished set of images is satisfying when I feel my subjects’ personalities are present in every image.
Experiences I’ve had as a photographer also influence my aspirations for the future. It’s important for me that I continually pursue a refinement of my craft. There’s always room for improvement and a deeper understanding of what I do, so I’m never fully satisfied to remain where I am. Looking back on past work and seeing an upward progression of skill is exciting. An almost insatiable desire to shoot and a love for photographing new people and places will continue to drive me.
It’s my hope that the work I do will continue to be meaningful for people. Whether I’m photographing senior portraits or a wedding, I hope that the images I create will deepen the connections my subjects share with each other and those around them. My aspiration is for people to pursue my work out of a desire for images that speak.