The starting point in my process always begins with a strong sense of “place.” Certain qualities of location, of domestic spaces in particular—the way sunlight hits an alcove, an arrangement of chairs around a table, a familiar color or texture of upholstery or a wallpaper—can conjure to the mind earlier memories and associations. It’s a moment when suddenly the external shifts to the internal. Much like the setting of a story or a stage in theater, our surroundings can become a launching point for the active imagination.
I photograph interior settings, whether in a real home or a “set” I build in miniature scale. After I make an enlarged print, I use acrylics, pastels, ink and collage to layer symbols or characters or situations with a potential for movement or action. Sometimes the interventions blend in seamlessly in color and style, sometimes they appear completely out of place, and sometimes they are ambiguous, containing only hints and traces of forms, like ghosts. But all these associative elements play together within the frame of the photograph: Their meanings interact, shift, reflect and recombine until a new overall understanding or perspective manifests itself.
This imaginative play is the psychological process I use in my art practice and in my creative writing. It is also the same process we use to create meaning in our everyday lives, the way our environment and memory work together to constantly reconstruct self-identity through narrative.