And a sword will pierce your heart
that the thoughts of many may be revealed.
If you haven’t heard this album by Sleeping At Last… listen. It is such beautiful, poetic, and honest music. Every song speaks my heart and my story. It is incredible. It made me weep. Thank you Ryan O’Neal.
I believe in the principle of yin and yang - that all things have a counterbalance and a complement. Yin and yang might seem contradictory individually, but when the right two come together, they form perfect harmony. They emphasize the individuality and the other-ness of their counterpart. They neither take anything away nor add to the other, yet the marriage of the two creates something beautiful and profound.
For me as an artist, and being so focused on color, this concept carries into my work as well. Every color has an opposite that is very different, but complementary. And every photograph that speaks to me is a yin waiting for its yang. Many times its match is not always the obvious, it’s more based on feeling.
My photograph Conception (below left) has always been my personal favorite photo. This was the first photo I exhibited (at the UNICEF art show in LA). It was shot in the winter of 2016 during my 365 project and it represents, to me, birth, the womb, a journey. When I look at it I feel as though I’m moving towards the beginning of life, and this mysterious light is the entry point.
This summer I was traveling to the airport into the sunset, and the sky lit up with the most glorious light display. It moved me so much that I pulled my car off the highway and took a photo (luckily I had my camera with me). The resulting image on the right is the yang to my yin. It’s called Consummation and it’s about the beauty of endings. I look at it and I see a celebration of completion. So often we feel the need to think of what’s beyond an ending (like the afterlife when a loved one dies, or hope after a relationship dissolves). But an ending in itself is beautiful.
These two photos will forever be paired in my mind - yin and yang, beginning and end, winter the summer, cold and warmth, darkness and light, Conception and Consummation.
Today is the 10th anniversary of the Leica M9, my digital camera of choice for the last almost-6 years (January 2014). I got a little nostalgic today thinking about the many places it’s been with me and what it’s seen. I have shot about 13,000 images with my M9. I found my perfect lens (the Summilux 50mm 1.4) which I never took off again. I documented every single day of my life with it in 2016 during my 365 project. My M9 captured the portraits of strangers and loved ones, it chronicled beginnings and endings. It came with me hiking in the wilderness, and walked the streets with me of the world’s largest cities. I experimented with all sorts of light, subject matter, and editing styles until I found what made it sing to me. It braved hurricanes and blizzards, it traveled through countless x ray machines and was thrown into tote bags and handbags and many different camera bags. It fell off a chair once and crashed on a tile floor - I have a dent in my lens hood to prove it. I cursed at the write speeds, and I cried over the sensor replacement because I was so afraid it would lose its soul (it didn’t).
No other camera can render light and color like the M9 if you shoot it the way it likes to be shot. But it requires a lot of persistence to understand what it likes. You have to treat it like a being with its own mind. If your minds match, it can be a magical partnership.
This camera has been my sidekick as I journeyed to find my artistic voice in photography. It was the camera that was with me when I disconnected from “likes” and found the only “like” that mattered was my own. It’s not only given me the best images I’ve ever made, it’s become an indelible part of how I see. How my M9 translates the world is the language I’ve come to speak with my pictures. The soul of this camera has become a mirror of my own.