16 images"First Impressions" is a set of images that I took over the past three years that were part of my first printing run. This collection of images offer my foray into printing digital images for archival purposes.
21 imagesThe subjects of my photography in Soulscapes are the natural landscapes one may drive past on road trips. In this series these landscapes become the canvas on which I project dream images. Dreams are part of the human experience and often certain dreams leave us unsettled, disjointed, or reflective. We wake up from our dreams, move on to our busy day and continue life; the daily struggles and challenges, managing self-doubts and dealing with life’s big decisions. I recognized the importance of dreams after noting a recurring dream I had experienced at different parts of my life. As I reflected on the meaning of my dream I began to run into Quranic passages that spoke to dreams. One that stood out was that of the Prophet Yusuf, Joseph, about a particular dream where the sun, moon, and eleven stars were bowing to him. In Yusuf ’s dream symbolism convey future events. For Yusuf this was the celestial bodies- the sun was his father, the moon was his mother- and that a certain self awareness or outside wisdom is required to interpret the dream. From humanity’s beginning the wilderness and human experiences were intimately intertwined, and the unconscious and dreams were integral to how humans understood themselves and their place in creation. But modernity has pushed the wilderness to the periphery by controlling and enclosing it, and discarded dreams as irrational and primitive in its push to discipline the human mind. Yet there are still vestiges to the centrality of dream landscapes in our culture, used heavily as literary and cinematic devices; however, we no longer can make sense of dreams. Soulscapes is an attempt to create an instructive process for observers to interact with dreams and the wilderness, both a rich reservoir for bringing meaning into our lives. While a single dream image may cause a disconcerting feeling, a collection of images over a time of dreaming can begin to convey symbolic stories that speak to the conscious about what must be done in the person’s life. While on a road trip in California I would pull over to capture wilderness landscapes for the series. I chose to utilize roadside points to convey how the ordinary, and accessible, incorporates into our unconscious to present symbolic images. For me each image represents, loosely, a stage in the experience of processing a struggle, meeting a challenge, confronting failures, surrendering, and finding a way forward; while the series represents the interpretative process required to make sense of individual images, what I refer to as the “soulscape.” By placing myself in the image, I provide a vessel for the observer to interpret the emotions, feelings, thoughts, and context. Each image is symbolic and can be interpreted by the observer from the richness of their experiences, cultural knowledge, and understanding, providing access to a persons unconscious, their soul.
4 imagesPresident Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 days after declaring war against the Empire of Japan, effectively stripping tens of thousand of Japanese Americans of their citizenship and due process and placing them in 13 concentrations camps out in the wildernesses of America’s West. Hastily built and more like prison camps, Japanese Americans would spend the duration of the war here, and many lost all their possessions, businesses, property and reputations. When orders were posted for citizens to report to transporting centers, they were only allowed to bring one suitcase per person and weeks notice. Into this suitcase were packed individuals clothes and the possessions most dear to them. President Trump has increased deportation and detention of undocumented immigrants to unprecedented levels. Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers show up at workplaces, while parents are driving their kids to school, and at funerals, hospitals and other locations to drag off suspected undocumented immigrants. These individual’s don’t have to opportunity to even say goodbye. With this project I hope to prompt individuals to grab their most cherished possessions within a small time span. I wish to capture their portrait and then ask them a series of questions. The goal is to capture the American immigrant story. By getting a diversity of portraits and narratives stories I want to compare and contrast possessions, motivations, and family stories. My belief is that we share fundamental values, and that in our political debates we lose sight of these and therefore the humanity in the other.