Drawing upon my background in biological science, I make photo-based work that explores the natural world and our relationships to that world. Traditionally, the scientific study of living things has meant the death of the subjects. In several projects, I look at the irony or the implications of this practice (Sacrifice, Deviation From Normal, Dissections, Parts is Parts, Science Pets, R.I.P.). Complexity theory, however, demonstrates the need to study intact systems because, in so many instances, “the whole is greater than the sum of the [dissected] parts.” I used living organisms to visually explore concepts of this theory, working up in scale from the idea of molecular interactions within one living animal to relationships among various members of a garden community (Animalia, Interactions, Structure, Garden).
As society grapples with contemporary environmental issues, will we have any personal experience of the world beyond cities? I explored our professed desire to “get out in nature” and how that urge is compromised by responsibilities of going to work and taking care of the homefront (The Personal Hiking Project). I played with our expectations of “experiencing nature—“ just for a pleasant dayhike—by comparing the visual allure of photographs with the mixed reality of a realm that impinges on all the senses (The Dreams of Urban Dwellers).
As the human population expands and the search for new resources accelerates, so does conflict between our needs and the needs of other species. Ideas of globalization and the shrinking world take on new meaning when applied to the lives of wild species. In both early and new projects, I look at the displacement of wild animals as humans occupy, use or destroy more and more of the planet’s space and energy (Protected, Neglected and Lost; The Calendar Pictures; Burning Down the House; A Turtle and Two Squirrels…). Underlying these projects is the question of what we ourselves lose by this vast planetary appropriation.