My View of the Visual Method
Before we can talk we sit and watch the world around us through our eyes. Our first connections to life begin through what we can see, how we look into people, and how we gaze upon the world. The visual allows us to have a certain quality of connection to the world that other sensory modalities struggle to convey. This is certainly the case when sitting upon a cliff face, in the freezing cold of winter, watching the sun fall behind the mountains. It is not the coldness that keeps my body there, nor the encroaching darkness, and isolation, it is not the aching knees from the hike, or the thoughts of a warm comfortable bed at home. What keeps me there, and what continues to bring me back into the wilderness, and into the world outside my comfortable home, are the beautiful vistas in nature, and incredible spirit of humanity that my eyes behold. It connects me in a way that no other sensory system can. The reality that I can view becomes so deeply tangible, that it is not easily forgotten.
The sight of a child hard at work in the slums of India, the frozen peaks of mountain tops, or the verdant life of forests, each asks to be seen. And, in being seen each becomes recognized. I believe that the visual can help us breath life into worlds we often forget. While modern living has given a certain kind of emancipation, I think it has also been responsible for disconnecting us to the plight of others, and has placed a concrete wedge between us and a rich experiential connection to nature.
I first became aware of the elegance of rich visual worlds in my first career as a dive instructor. I was introduced to the vibrant underwater world, vivid colours, and heterogeneous forms of life, that live beyond our immediate attention. I also became aware of the vast degree of degradation our modern lifestyle can have, through the continuous bleaching of the reef from modern farming practices, boat damage, and tourism. Without the work of photography and the stories of people like Jacques-Yves Cousteau these worlds would surely no longer exist in the shadowy capacities they currently do.
I feel that by visualizing social and environmental realities, we can come to defend those worlds with more vigor. And importantly, I hope that through visual expression we can become more intimately associated with realities unfamiliar to us. I hope you can enjoy the visual story of my work as much as I.