In 2001, in an elevator in the Bank of America Corporate Center, somewhere between the metal detector at the lobby’s entrance and my cubicle on the 72nd floor, I realized I was dying — not immediately, but inevitably, and that the pile of papers I’d been spending my life shuffling from one end of my desk to the other, would, in the end, mean nearly nothing.
That moment has colored everything since. It has meant the end of doing what I was supposed to do; the end of being responsible first; the end of trying to synthesize the practical and the lucrative into a life plan my guidance counselor would recommend. Somewhere along the line, I picked up my camera. And I used it as a sort of dowsing rod which I hoped would point itself toward something that would turn out to be important to me. That something turned out to be a sense of balance, of simplicity, of stillness.
When I make a photograph, I am literally cropping out the rest of existence — its tension, its chaos, its hunger, its pain. For one small moment, I wall myself into a world of my own creation; a world where things may not make immediate narrative or logical sense, but where everything is in balance. Thin, almost pencil-drawn lines offset wide, flat spaces. The smooth hardness of glass acts as counterweight to the fine hairs of a polyester wig. I don’t have any pretensions of long-term escape. I know when I put the camera down, when I step back from the print, there will be something like an avalanche of smells and voices, car alarms and newspaper headlines, legal obligations and biological concerns.
I will be a part of things again over which I have no control. But for a moment, I have hidden long enough to take a breath.