8 tagged with #text

( page: 1 2 )

breaking up with patreon

i'm just dropping a quick note here to declare publicly (and for my own reference) that i'm no longer using patreon as a way to fund any of my work; this is in response to their recent payment policy changes, which feel too uncomfortably exploitative for me to continue participating in that ecosystem.

a few references from other patreon creators with more specifics:

since i don't rely on patreon for day-to-day expenses, i'm in a good position to just quit taking funding there altogether. that said, i've written up some protocols for ways i'll accept financial support for my work; here's my current funding system.

i'm especially excited by the novelty of tip envelope subscriptions :)

08 December 2017

summer pre-flight

this july, i'll be in gatlinburg, tn for an artist residency with the great smoky mountains national park. i have a more static landing page here; i've been posting sporadic updates here. i might make a whole separate mini-site for documentation. i haven't really figured this out yet.

some days, talking seems harder than others.

14 June 2017


this work starts to feel desperate, sometimes. i am making these artifacts, these objects that are some sort of evidence that something happened. this is a device that records a physical phenomenon that we have managed to figure out how to preserve. at times, it feels futile. what am i trying to preserve? what am i trying to capture? what am i afraid of losing?

i look at images i've made from places i'lkk never stand again, people i'll never meet again. can i have the same thoughts as i had there? am i recreating the same patterns in my head?

sometimes it feels like i'm taking the same picture, over and over again. by looking at a sheet of cut negatives, i can verify that they are things that happened at different times, under different circumstances; i can touch an object and convince myself that it's telling me something that my faulty memory could not hold.

that's only if i trust this machine. that's only if i trust this mental landscape i've set up for myself, one that acknowledges and accepts the existence of an external world that can operate without my intervention, that is capable of accepting queries from me and responding with appropriate output.

more often than not, lately, it feels as if that trust is breaking.

05 March 2017


Sometimes, I look through my photographs and the world seems impossibly quiet and empty, even if other people are there, and even if other people are nearby. I've had a hard time justifying the process of photographing and sharing images, as if those sights are not mine to divulge, and that the world does not need more pictures. Other times, I cannot justify withholding pictures, because it is not my place to decide what should or should not exist.

There are people there, in all of my photographs. They're the ones you can't see, who stand behind or beside me, who I sometimes cannot bear to frame. They're the ones I don't find neccesary to photograph at that time, or ever again. They're the ones who forget that I am there, or don't notice that I'm capturing the trace of photons traveling across the void, or watch me with no chance at comprehension. They're all there, don't worry. Every photograph I take contains every human who has ever passed through my life.

I walked home yesterday and saw a beat-up old car parked illegally against the curb, and passed it to see a woman prostrating to the east. In the grass beside her, a red-tailed hawk stands over a torn squirrel. I turned and photographed the shadows cast by the setting sun in the opposite direction. Years ago, I was trapped under a bridge by a pouring summer thunderstorm, pulling my camera out of its waterlogged case to try and protect it. A taxi driver pulled in next to me and wordlessly got out to spread his prayer rug on the driest spot. I faced the curtain of rain that held us together and waited.

I stare at scenes that are too heartbreaking to ignore, and refuse to allow myself the instant gratification of filing it away in a device that saves the visuals and defers emotional engagement. I deny myself the satisfaction of catching the light at its most perfect because I've convinced myself that pleasure-denial will grant me the right to demand pleasure later. Is this useful, I ask myself. Does anyone want this, I consider. Is this good, I demand. The world exists whether or not it gets photographed; the world exists whether or not I photograph; the world exists whether or not I exist.

My family often complains that I never appear in the photographs I take of friends, family, adventures, travels, and I say, how can I not be? I'm there, in the shadows I cast when the light hits my body and cannot pass through. I'm there, in the only place I could have possibly stood to make the image. I'm there, showing you evidence that I was there. I'm there, in the vision you see when you look at the rest of the image. I'm the most present in every image, because it is the closest I can get to placing you directly within my skull and showing you what the world looks like when I open my eyes.

These are my pictures, but they are not my pictures.

05 November 2015


I've been struggling to find a verb that accurately describes what I do between deciding to make a photograph exist and showing it to the rest of the world. It's all 'process' to me, but the connotations of 'process' and 'post-process' and 'editing' and 'adjusting' get in the way of what I think I'm doing.

I like the simple, somewhat brutal term of 'process', though. It calls to mind a methodical sequence of actions, applied carefully to a particular means.

I cannot easily show you every single step, because not all of them are visual, and not all of them are easily shared from my world to yours.

Here's an image produced after I have exposed the film (which happened at the time and place of the image), developed it (which happened weeks later in the darkroom), scanned it (during which the scanner, which is just a very specific kind of camera attached to a computer), but before applying any adjustments beyond what I did in the scanner software:

Here's the same image, after I applied a 'curves' adjustment layer in Photoshop:

And here's the actual curve itself:

There are a few things you can read from that screenshot. In the background of that chart is a histogram that tells you how much of each tone of pixel there are in that image. The diagonal line is a reference point for 'make no changes to these pixels'; the curve, by default, follows that line. In the middle of that curve, I pulled the line upwards to make that bulge; this tells Photoshop to do some math and make the greyish pixels slightly darker.

The ability to do this is not unique to Photoshop. My phone's camera app has a 'curves' option, which shows the exact same interface. If you're really careful, you can write a script to apply those edits directly to the file itself. In the darkroom, it's possible to do this by using different contrast filters to adjust how much each part of the image gets exposed.

It's all process.

11 January 2015

( page: 1 2 )

  Commons License this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. for more details, please see my license information.