Many people over the years have asked me how I create my images…
Most of my ideas stem from my dreams. I suffer from insomnia, but on those rare occasions that I do sleep well, I dream very vividly. When I wake, I remember not so much the minute details of the dream, but the flavor of the dream. This flavor is the beginning point of an image concept. I then take that dream-taste and begin to construct a set as if preparing for a play. Piece by piece the set begins to take form and I spend many hours sitting in the studio, staring at the set, listening to music and waiting for the set to tell me what it needs. This long creative process is the reason I only shoot approximately 12 times a year and consequently only produce about 12 images each year.
Once the set is constructed and I feel it is finished, I go about the task of finding the model or models I believe would be able to provide what the image requires, usually this is based on the model’s own life experiences. Everyone who has posed for me over the years is my friend.; this personal connection is key in creating an image that is genuine. I choose a model based on several criteria: their look, their comfort level and their mind. I need to know if this person can give me what I need for the image and the only way to do that is for us to know them through friendship.
I used to shoot with a medium format Mamiya RB film camera using black and white negative film, which I developed myself using chemistry and timing that I had developed over the years. I made contact sheets and then made my decision as to which image best matched the “taste” that began the creative process. I then scanned the negative into my computer and did the tonal changes, coloring and added a border. I have recently made the transition to shooting with a Nikon digital camera, eliminating the developing and scanning stages and bringing the images taken directly to my computer.
Many people are under the assumption that I do a lot of digital manipulation to my images. The fact is that about 95 percent of what you see in the photograph was on set that day. All blurs or distortions are created by either the model moving at my instruction or objects that are moving in the set by means of a variety of motors, wires and mobiles. Once I have the image complete, my digital file is printed onto Fuji Crystal Archive color photographic paper using a light-jet printer. Once I receive the prints, I inspect each one, then sign, number and fingerprint it. This insures that the collector is receiving the highest quality original archival print possible.
All prints are museum quality exhibition prints (not inkjet or Giclee), and are available in 2 sizes: 20” x 24” and 24” x 30”. All images are printed in a limited edition of 25; in order to ensure that no more that these 25 will be printed, I destroy the digital file (and negative if applicable) after all 25 prints have been obtained.