Every artist has a central story to tell, and the difficulty, the impossible task, is trying to present that story in pictures.
All pictures are autobiographical, yet they’re telling us everything and nothing about the photographer.
Photography is a lonely endeavor, and I think all photographers are in one way or another drawn to the medium by kind of an alienated viewpoint.
My pictures must first be beautiful, but that beauty is not enough. I strive to convey an underlying edge of anxiety, of isolation, of fear.
Originally, one of the reasons I was drawn to photography, as opposed to painting or sculpture or installation, is that of all the arts it is the most democratic, in so far as it’s instantly readable and accessible to our culture. Photography is how we move information back and forth.
All my pictures are very voyeuristic, but ultimately I’m looking at what lurks in my own interior. I make photographs because I want to answer the question of what propels me to do the things that I do. But that always remains a mystery.
My first impulse is to make the most beautiful picture I can. But then I’m always interested in this idea of a kind of undercurrent in the work… I’m very interested in the uncanny and a way to find something mysterious or terrible within everyday life.
The reason I teach is because it’s a privileged atmosphere, where you can talk about photographs in a place where the people really care about them. That’s rare and unusual.
What I’m after, what I’ve always been after is a picture that tells a story. I see it all in my head beforehand, and I set out obsessively—maybe even narcissistically—to make it. Very little is improvised in the end, though I am open to serendipity in some details. In part I see what I am doing as exploring the American psyche through the American vernacular landscape, much as Hopper did.
It's very hard to describe what I'm looking for - something that feels both familiar and strange at the same time.
... I’m interested in using the iconography of nature and the American landscape as surrogates or metaphors for psychological anxiety, fear or desire.
… in this age of Instagram, and pictures on cell phones, and social media, it’s a real challenge to think of the photograph still meaning something important.
…the photograph is still and frozen. From day one, I have been interested in taking that limitation and trying to find the strength in it—like a story that is forever frozen in between moments, before and after, and always left as a kind of unresolved question.
My pictures are about everyday life combined with theatrical effect. I want them to feel outside of time, to take something routine and make it irrational. I’m always looking for a small moment that is a revelation.
I think my pictures are really about a kind of tension between my need to make a perfect picture and the impossibility of doing so. Something always fails, there’s always a problem, and photography fails in a certain sense… This is what drives you to the next picture.