I am drawn to quiet places in my photography. Very often I seek them out under forest canopies, on windswept beaches, or under desert skies. Sometimes I find them closer to human habitation—in old graveyards, ancient ruins, and abandoned barns. What I look for in each of these disparate environs is a sense of solitude, and the potential to capture these scenes of peaceful contemplation for posterity.
While my landscape and architecture photographs run the gamut of alternative and historical photographic processes, what they share in common is this focus on solitude. Whether the seclusion of a primeval woodland or the final isolation of a cemetery, my photography aims to hold up these lonely spaces as antidotes to our hectic day-to-day lives.
This collection aims to capture the Polynesian concept of mana in myriad settings around the world. Each photograph relates to my search for a sense of spiritual connectedness to the land, at times mediated by my own family history and at other times grounded in an appreciation of humanity’s shared heritage. I set out to infuse each piece with a timeless sense of place that would encourage the viewer to contemplate the ways in which they are linked to other human beings and the planet.
These images immediately precede “Depart” in my mind, but not strictly because of the emotions commonly associated with death and dying. I believe that the hard times in life, when darkness most seems to be closing in, are the times when one must exert the most effort in order to move forward. Thus, these photographs impart a palpable feeling of motion and push the viewer to consider the ubiquity of change in life. As in “Ancestral ‘Aina,” the analogy between the natural world and lived human experience is a central theme. The photographs emphasizes not just the looming darkness, but also draws the viewer’s eye to the distant light in the images, suggesting the persistence of hope in difficult times.
During my travels, I have meditated on a different sort of voyage: the one that the soul makes to the afterlife. Death and the afterlife are perennial artistic subjects, and I wanted to express both the loss and the hope that I see as intrinsic to a person’s departure from the world. These photographs, taken at cemeteries and churches around the world, capture moments of tranquility in images that are disarmingly warm and welcoming.
Palladium printing is a historical photographic method that dates back to the late nineteenth century. It requires the hand coating of 100% cotton rag paper with ferric oxalate, then an exposure with a negative in the darkroom under intense ultraviolet light. The print is highly archival and produces an exquisitely warm-toned image. The palladium printing process imbues the subject with a timeless intimacy, making it well suited to photographs of nature and heritage architecture.