Being a gay boy growing up in a conservative, religious household created a lot of tension. I constantly struggled with accepting myself while knowing my family would not accept me for the person I wanted to be, who I am now. In fact, the subject was swiftly swept under the rug as soon as it was brought up. Accepting myself included deciding where I fell on the gender spectrum. I've certainly always known what a boy should be like versus what a girl should be like, but I blurred the lines. Masculinity and femininity often battled for center stage in my head. Through my work I want to explore the contrast between masculine and feminine, the difficulty a gay person can have defining on which end of the spectrum they belong, and questioning where the distinction is made. For this body of work, I waited until my family was out of the house and set up my equipment. In secret, I explored ways to express my conflict and struggle in the environment in which I was raised. With this work, I hope to question gender and identity, masculinity and femininity, and the internal conflict these things can create.
This body of work explores the idea of intrusion and the violation of trust. Through various scenarios, this overarching idea is depicted by showing lines crossed and personal space imposed upon. Inspired by the works of contemporary artists such as Cindy Sherman, I used myself as the model to create characters, like an actor performing a role. In doing this, I was able to work on a very intimate scale by isolating myself, allowing room for more vulnerability. The composited images in which I am interacting with myself create a dialog about the way we internalize this sense of betrayal to the point where we no longer see who it is that infringes upon our sense of security and comfort—others or ourselves.
An ideal relationship is balanced. When that balance is thrown, a disconnect forms. This series follows a couple living disconnected, emotionally separated. One is reaching out to the other, unaware of the circumstance. The other, disinterested, reaches out to the viewer stepping into an opening door that casts a pillar of light upon the scene. Without knowing it, the viewer has become a part of the unspoken conversation between lovers, bringing to light what is often unseen, the beginning to an end.
When I Look at You I See...
When a man stands before a camera, a relationship is established between photographer and subject; the act of looking begins. A human motionless before the lens becomes object, something to be studied. This solitary image captures an expanse of time occupied by a lingering gaze, thoughtful contemplation of the body. Through the movement of light on my subject over a long exposure, the viewer is able to retrace the path of my eyes as I studied the parts of the body that draws my focus, calls my attention. All the ideas and feelings in that moment fall away and all that is remembered is the act of looking.
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