Artist Statement

I have discovered a burning passion for photography. I specialize in creating abstract concepts, portrayed with surreal and collage-like images of urban cityscapes, merging film and digital mediums.

My camera collection includes many vintage models such as the Twin Lens Reflex, Agfa Rangefinder, Large Format 4x5, and Polaroid Land cameras. However, I usually use an Olympus-1n SLR 50mm F/1.8 -16, and 35mm film with the ASA ranging from 125 to 400 ISO. The final film results vary from close-up images of inner city environs to double exposures of objects and people in their personal spaces.

As for digital SLR, I only use Canon 5D. My most recent projects involve the utilization of the HDR, which yields bold and formidable results. As I immerse further into digital experiments, I strive to maintain my surrealist prowess and capture the very essence of professional photography. My aesthetics are created by turning the rough, like the aged disintegrating concrete of a building or wall, into beauty using meticulous techniques like adjusting close up, focus, and light manipulation.

My work tends to carry a meditative mood and focuses exclusively on the urban landscape. I lean towards radical surrealism, yet with rational interpretations of my own. My current photographs tend to emphasize the radiant outline of buildings by using high dynamic range, creating complex intuitive metaphors by capturing a tilted perspective, which clashes with the rigidity of the building itself.

 

                                                High Dynamic Range

As you may have noticed, on my website most of my images are shot with HDR (RAW). I made them before we had speedy access to HDR through apps. I took five different aperture brackets. I learned how to print precisely at the Academy of Art University. I was inspired and often fascinated with David Chapelle's photo "Death By Hamburger" (2001) and other older work that tends to bring a light tone to an absurd image. After I studied HDR in depth and used it in most of my "urban" photos (from 2009 to 2014).

 

SEL : NEW MISSION, 2011

SEL : NEW MISSION, 2011


 As nostalgia set in with the transition from film to digital, I have reflected on my images that I feel have lost an aesthetic that film provides. I worked in darkroom for approximately 15 years, often developing images I captured with my Olympus-1n SLR on 50mm F/1.8 -16 film. Most of my film negatives are stored in piles and piles of boxes.

I decided to transform them into digital images, so I scanned the negatives and transferred them to Photoshop in order to edit them digitally and print them.

When I took a darkroom class at San Francisco State University, one of my assignments was to learn from one photographer and try to emulate them using a similar method. I focused on Doug Prince, printing several images, layering them, and making a Plexiglass box to hold them.

I had a difficult time finding the correct film and paper that he used, so I decided to invent my own method. I used different film then developed it in the darkroom to add a solarization effect .

RUSH HOUR METRO Transparency Sheet 5x5

RUSH HOUR METRO Transparency Sheet 5x5

Four 5x5 Plastic Transparency Sheets    

Four 5x5 Plastic Transparency Sheets

 

 

I then scanned the final film print and transferred it into Photoshop to emphasize the whiteout effect on some areas to make it transparent. Finally, I printed the images on transparency paper (overhead sheets). I printed four different images 5inx5in and layered them inside the box.

Pelixglas Box

The viewer peers through to see all of them at once,  creating a ghostly cascade of images that meld together. 

 

 

 

dense

Another artist who used inverse, high contrast images is Lynda Lehmann. I discovered that her work reminds me of how I capture the urban environment when I use film. One of example of her work is below.

SEL : WIRE STORM, 2014

SEL : WIRE STORM, 2014

One of my inverse works is of an urban locale and chrome accents.

Lynda Lehmann : No Escape, 2005

Lynda Lehmann : No Escape, 2005

My ongoing long term project is exploring bulk metal sheet printing and attaching transparent images. The intent is to make it look dense and intertwined, adding nothing natural, evoking an urban feel.

urban

Blur and soft contrast is common in my other work, especially during the years prior to my HDR and surrealism projects. I ironed this image onto the messenger bag that I use for my equipment, since biking is one of my hobbies. I always carry a camera with me as I bike around the city, and sometimes even a tripod too. 

SEL : CRANE, 2007

SEL : CRANE, 2007

One artist that inspires me is Lee Friedlander. He is an urban photographer who tends to favor simple close ups with medium soft contrast using the cityscape.

Lee Friedlander “Letters From the People”

Lee Friedlander “Letters From the People”