Photography is a strange beast. A single image can show so many things, sometimes even things that elude the eye of the photographer, and this accumulation of detail can trick us into thinking we're seeing the real world. What I want to do, instead, is show things the eye cannot see: a psychological state, a hint, a reverie. That is why my work tends to leave things out. I like to get rid of extraneous information, so that the eye can go immediately to the subject and be drawn into a mood or atmosphere.
Technique offers a way into this atmosphere, never as an end in itself, but as a means of expression, and plays out in an ongoing exploration of connections between painting and photography. Many of my pieces, for instance, are transfers on mirror or mother of pearl, giving the image a radiance that seems to come from within. For other images, I have preferred working on glass, gilt board, and silk—often using techniques of my invention. Yet other images begin digitally and end with oil paint, bridging a six-hundred year gap between the origin of these media. Given these alternative-process techniques, each piece is also a unique edition; there are no multiples in my photography.
Leaving things out and spanning centuries of techniques, my work is, at heart, an enquiry into time. While a documentary-type image lets us ask questions about the period it's set in, I think of my images as existing outside time, without obvious markers, precisely because they live in an inner space where the accidents of dress and decor no longer matter. Longing, reflection, hope, passion, desire transcend the here and now. They are fleeting and eternal at the same time.
In Another New York, I want to show a side that's rarely seen of this great city, taking the viewer to a place where time dissolves. What's left is a private world of light, color and fantasy. Beyond the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building and other icons, my true subject is a psychic space.
Iron and Steel deals with train stations and gantries. I like these early industrial buildings, alternately playful and massive. Here they become stage sets for what's happening inside: the setting, in a way, for a dream, where time shifts back and forth with a logic that escapes the waking world.
For centuries, Venice has been known as La Serenissima, “the most serene” republic. Of course it's no longer a republic and was never serene, but in my images I have omitted the hordes of tourists to evoke, instead, an otherworldly light and atmosphere. "Most serene" is interpreted here as a poetry of being.
Imaginary Places takes as its starting point various places I have visited over the years, some of which are more recognizable than others, but the precise location is of limited concern. What has greater significance, to my mind, is the way a scene can conjure up an alternate world.
Gardens of Eden is also about impossible places. Each image “depicts” a garden, park, or landscape, so abstracted that the specific moment and place no longer matter. I use the term Gardens of Eden because it suggests an ideal state that lives only in the imagination.
A Voyage is the most abstract series on this site. I took all of the images from a train and, rather than fixing the blur and movement, used them to express a sense of traveling into the unknown. The sunsets suggest an approximate hour, but where we're going and when remain undefined. As a voyage is also a beginning, I close my galleries at this point. Let this end also be a beginning.