I’ve always been reluctant to call myself an artist. Possibly because it implies some level of pretension. More likely because for a long time I was just a guy having fun with a camera. Art implies a bit of a deeper meaning to me. Quietly over the years, deeper meaning has been creeping in, sometimes completely unintentionally.
My photographic art revolves around two themes. The first is the entropy of man made structures. Nature makes a pretty wrecking ball and there’s no shortage of her handiwork in Michigan. Some have called this genre of photography “ruin-porn” because they think it’s exploitative of an area and it’s people. While I’m not from Michigan, I live here now and intend to stay for a good long time. Unlike a poet or painter, I have to have my subject in front of my lens to depict it. For me there is beauty in ruin, this is a period of time worth documenting, and there is statement to be made about American society’s complete lack of knowledge pertaining to the shrinking of a city (oh we know how to grow a city but the reverse is filled with anger, denial, and confusion).
The second genre is retro pinup. The feminine form is so gorgeous few photographers, male or female, can escape its aesthetic lure. There are a couple of reasons I like retro pinup. For starters it’s already old and timeless. My pinup photos taken in 2003 look great next to the ones taken last month. More aesthetically women look great dressed in the accoutrements of their foremothers. I’ve heard numerous models say “I’ve never looked so awesome/great/busty/hourglass-y/etc.” just from putting on waist cincher or corset. It leaves the right thing to the imagination, which always fills in with perfection. In fact, the stereotypical pinup costume; high heels, thigh highs, garter, boy shorts, corset, opera gloves, covers most of a model while still being immediately recognizable as sexy. Pinup is fun, campy, kitschy, tounge-in-cheek, and flirty. In short it’s a great alternative to modern depictions of female sensuality. It’s the best way I’ve found to extract the exploitation out of sexy.
Finally, every artist has their influences and most know enough to keep them hidden. There are two photographers I really admire that I’d like to acknowledge. Simon Larbalstier and Bill Schwab are both phenomenal photographers and without either one I probably wouldn’t be where I am today with respect to my art.