2018 Photographer's Statement
"Photographs supplant and corrupt the past, all the while creating their own memories"
Photography is important. Photography is important to me. In 2004 I wrote my first photographer's statement. Since then, photography has changed for me, and its articulation proved difficult for me. In 2004 photography was about my nostalgia - my youth, how I saw and re-captured the warm fuzzies of my youth through my photography.
Now, it's different. Just as important, but different. I am blessed with wonderful memories of my youth and 1,000s of pictures my parents made of my childhood. What I've realized is that I didn't need to re-capture my youth - it was already captured and etched in my brain. This led me to a new understanding of why photography is important to me. People really don't need help capturing their lives anymore - maybe they never did - but certainly with the ubiquity of cameras they need a lot less help. Today I shoot more for today, for what is, and for the pure enjoyment of it.
In 2004, my kids were 4, 5, and 6. As I write this, they're 18, 19, and 20. They certainly don't need any more photos of themselves. While my attempt was so that they would be nostalgic for their youth, it was probably more so I could re-live mine. This idyllic world of my youth and my desire to create an idyllic world for my kids didn't exactly make things perfect. But I tried. Today I photograph what is real, with thoughts of the moment, not the past. Maybe it's a nuanced difference, but it's a palpable difference to me.
For Christmas in 2010, Christine gifted me a new camera and a lens. it renewed my interest in photography but not my spirit. There was something about photography that was still lost and sad - melancholy. Eight years went by, and I used that camera. It was a tool and occasionally an inspiration, but my purpose was still the same - not misguided, but no longer relevant. Melancholy. I'll call this my Tormented and Lamented Phase. I'm still shooting with that 8 year old camera.
This brings me to 2018. Today, and tomorrow. The only days I have in my control. Photography to me is different again - more important. While what I shoot is not so different, how I feel about its purpose is different. There's a little different style in what I'm shooting, but I'm still finding the beauty in the same things. But now it's for today, and tomorrow.
As I write this from my coffee shop window perch on a spectacular autumn day overlooking Green Lake Park in Seattle I see students playing frisbee, two elderly woman sharing a coffee at a picnic table in the sun, a man lying next to his bike napping, and a young family creating their own nostalgia, and a pre-school teacher leading a neon green-jacketed train of children across the crosswalk. Around me inside are a dozen laptops - some people creating their art and writing, some managing their deadlines and emails, and others huddling together collaborating. There is activity everywhere and it's beautiful. There is freedom, joy, excitement, peace, anxiety, and surely sadness. But it's life, for today, and tomorrow.
Photography is important. It's important to me. But now, it's for today, and tomorrow.
Oh, and I finally bought a new camera.