One of my earliest memories is spending time with the family photo album. I was completely fascinated by the images of these people who were my family but many of whom I did not yet know as I was the youngest child of a large family of eight children. The photographs were my portal to a mysterious past inhabited by these beings who lived on a thin sliver of reactive silver. These were mnemonic objects that acted as triggers or supports to our memories, they are the modern phenomenon that enables the individual graven evidence that they existed, even when the last person who knew them have died.
For the first time in human history mankind could leave evidence of their existence that was not a painting or drawing. One of the great ironies of our time is that the photograph or family snapshot has become so ubiquitous in almost every household or domicile, yet when devastated by calamities it is not our jewels or sundry possessions that we miss, no it is for the lost family photographs that we grieve. There can be no underestimating the importance of photographs in the construction of identity and in the case of our early years providing the images our memories could not.
The color still life photographs that I have created were made from the old family photographs and some of these became tributes to the lives and memory of these individuals. The photographs were in many instances constructed using the original photograph as a background on which to construct a still-life assemblage, that then also functions as a photo-montage. The use of colorful flowers is a standard motif in the construction of these images, but so is the use of various organic objects such as skulls of animals and the occasional human, bones, shells, shamanic talismans, fruits etc. These works are generally printed large for exhibitions with the largest works measuring up to 72 inches by 48 inches. Other image making processes were used in the construction of the still-life photos besides re-photography and the photo-montage process. Some of these processes include in camera superimposition or in camera image layering and the use of text. Not all the Color Still-life photos are about family, some are in deep visual exploration of topics from shamanism, mysticism, death and decay, politics, race and ethnicity, environmentalism etc.