For Views From the Pot, I utilize the camera on an iPhone to explore the ways we use our smartphones to document and expose every aspect of our private lives. The format functions on multiple levels: it underscores the immediacy of the moment and satisfies a need for instant gratification, but also provides an outlet for exhibitionism through evolving social media. These new social spheres provide a distorted mirror for self-representation and an anchor for which our existence and lives are validated and reaffirmed.
In many ways, Views From the Pot is about my own struggle with these contradictory forces constantly at odds within me, the need to showcase every aspect of my private life and simultaneously rebel against these social constructs. I see the surfaces of the bathroom stall in front of me as the “anti-self-portrait”; when I do see my image reflected on a surface, it is often semi-obscured, in shadow, or seen through the markings of graffiti on a mirror. Other images within the series become abstract and depersonalized observations of a familiar space. The images are concealing as much as they are exposing my private life, for, in truth, all were taken with my pants down on public toilets.
The Unmotivated Protagonist
I have always been unsatisfied with life as most people live it. Always I want to live more intensely and rich. Why muck and conceal one's true longings and loves, when by speaking of them one might find someone to understand them, and by acting on them one might discover oneself?
From 2007 to 2009, I set out to document an intimate portrait of my hometown in the series Garbage Grove, where the motif of cloudless blue skies and California palm trees ironically clashed with scenes of melancholy dilapidation and disturbed symmetry below. I captured these images using a point-and-shoot 35mm Olympus XA. The deep-focus snapshot aesthetic reinforces the images as nostalgic artifacts and attempts to reconstruct memories of fictionalized childhood landscapes.
"The streets were dark with something more than night"
For three and a half years I lived along the fringe of downtown Los Angeles. During that time, the familiar and iconic office buildings, hotels, and condominium towers became the backdrop to my life. The sun would set and my neighborhood would transform, abstracted by the darkness and harsh streetlamps, shapes that had become barely recognizable occupying the foreground while those omnipresent glittering spires rose up behind them. Compared with the anonymous gray space of my immediate surroundings, the skyline seemed wondrously beautiful, impossibly distant.