Denver Area Urban and Industrial Scenes
"Even though you might have these ugly structures, nasty, smelly cars, and dirty streets, when you look at it all as a picture you don’t think of that—you look at it as visual organization. In a way this is the real abstraction—to abstract the visual from the reality..."
Richard Estes, American Painter
This website is dedicated exclusively to showcasing my urban photographs, ranging from intimate views of downtown cafes to gritty industrial scenes. From camera capture to final print these images evolve, often ending up somewhere between a photograph and a digital painting. My process for selecting and editing photographs has developed as a direct result of the endless inspiration I receive from the city as a subject.
Photographs as Abstract Art
Despite their trusted role in representing reality, photographs are abstractions of the world. They are many steps removed from the range of color and light we are capable of perceiving: they are recorded with a mechanical/electronic device (camera), distorted by a lens, and further abstracted by being viewed or printed as two-dimensional images composed of pixels, ink, or chemicals. The degree of abstraction depends upon the photographer and his or her skills and intentions. The finished image becomes an entity separate from the reality it may represent. This is what I believe the great American Photorealist painter Richard Estes was expressing in the above quote. In my photographs the colors, tones, shapes, and compositional structure of the image are as important as the subject pictured, and are therefore often altered to enhance the "visual organization."
Beauty of the Commonplace
My photographs depict relatively ordinary urban and industrial settings. I have been shooting such scenes for over 30 years—in places where people don't usually seek beauty. I am fascinated by the random visual interactions of light, shape, and form in these settings, perhaps because they were designed more for function than for beauty. The infinite permutations of abstract visual relationships among various man-made structures draw me to such locales in search of visual beauty of a different sort—an unplanned, serendipitous beauty not defined by consumer appeal, popular trends, art critics, movements, or ideologies, but rather by my sense of design and my ability as an artist to connect with and communicate a universal order.
I endeavor in my images to share with the viewer my experience of looking through the flood of visual stimuli that comprise our daily urban existence, and acknowledging the possibility of seeing scenes that we often either ignore or judge as unappealing in a new and different way. In so doing, we begin to broaden our definition and appreciation of art—and of beauty—in the manner suggested by Richard Estes; we "...abstract the visual from the reality." I hope this process begins or is enhanced as you view the images on this site.