ebb & flow

ebb & flow
(artist statement)

We are interconnected with all forms of matter in a continuously evolving relationship with nature. Similar to the constant receding and rising of ocean tides, nature long ago designed its own rhythm of ebb and flow to maintain a balance for all life. Humans have a vital dependence on this system, but it is often masked by an outdated belief that we must control nature to live comfortably. Our standards have created a collection of global problems, which are results from the same misguided perception. I believe the first step to restore true ecological balance will require changes that shift our old perception to come to new fruition. We need to reexamine where we stand in the great web of interconnectivity.

I chose to visually interpret several of our global problems and “solutions” using my perception of the potential consequential aftermath of our decisions. It became important that all of these images should echo the philosophy of deep ecology, which questions the human impact on the ecosystem and argues that the narrow view of ecology is only concerned with resources that benefit human life. This mentality really only favors the preservation of human beings and ends up filling one hole by digging another. For example, in the image, Fresh Catch 22, I wanted to show the pros and cons of fish farming methods that produce a fast supply of seafood in a controlled environment. One might translate the vacant red hooks as a solution to over fishing a species and the sardines symbolizing a remedy to food shortages. However, another interpretation may translate these same symbols as interfering with one species will have a negative impact on another species. The sardines could represent death from disease, which has been proven to occur in contained oceanic environments. This describes the importance of how either perception can determine a future state of our world and its issues.

I found it too prosaic to render these ideas by simply photographing the harsh reality of our changing landscape seen beyond our windows and doors. Instead, I chose to challenge the viewer’s perception by using metaphors incorporating both natural and man-made materials in each image. I focused this work around two core images representing a pair of fundamental ideas I believe is essential to understanding our relationship to nature. Matter, inspired from the law of conservation, states that matter cannot be created or destroyed, but rearranges just like clay changes form. Interconnected, is placed directly across, to emphasize that all things are connected in a giant support system and each strand is held by another. The entire series was shot under artificial lights in a studio setting to illustrate how we take nature out of our lives. Photographs were originally shot in raw digital format and stitched together to create a panoramic space. Minor manipulations were then made with post processing software. I want my images to awaken an awareness that may be buried within…perhaps to question which way the water will flow that defines the course of our relationship with nature.

Senior BFA Photography Thesis 2009

conceptual photography, thesis