Upon Reflection and Abstracts

My work is about layers and isolation. We live in a layered world. Layers of earth, layers of atmosphere, layers of light, layers of reality, layers of vision. This is something we all know – but most of us to see only the surface layer.

I've always been drawn to the next layer, and the next after that. There’s a building with a window, there’s whatever is behind the window, there’s the reflection of another building across the street. Layers and layers, and layers within layers, and yet it’s all of a piece. Everything is associated. Everything – but there are moments and situations in which it’s possible to isolate and photograph a carefully selected fragment of the layered world.

In isolation, those fragments appear abstract. They seem to be reduced to line and form. They create the illusion of being detached and unconnected to reality. But they’re not – not abstract, not simply line and form, not detached from reality. They are reality. They’re the reality most don’t see. 

Photographing these fragments of reality in isolation is, for me, a constant reminder that nothing in reality exists in isolation. Isolation is illusion.

I've heard it said that the camera cannot create abstracts, but I believe that my work - by combining reflections with what is behind the glass and merging them onto a single plane - shows that the camera can indeed create abstraction.

Note:  These are all "straight" shots - that is, single exposures, and the compositions are neither digitally created nor manipulated - everything is as found  or as seen while walking around my city.

The Shape of Things

Why is it that we can pass something five, ten or more times before it registers as worthy of being photographed? Assuming similar lighting, what brings about the "aha" moment? And why is it that we can return to something several times and see something different each time?

I'd passed these painted picnic tables at least five times before it occurred to me to quickly run off a few shots. I still wasn't sure I had anything until I saw them on my computer - and I've been back several times since. (I've since found some unpainted tables and I've included a couple of images.)

My work is about finding abstraction and beauty in the everyday. The challenges are twofold: to decontextualize (without going macro), and to create compositions that appeal without rearranging anything.

The first is for the audience to view the images as abstracts and open to their projection and interpretation; the second to show the photographic possibilites of what is around us.

While I don't believe my photographs aesthetically elevate the tables, I do believe they show the capability of the camera to alter how we look at our environment.


I'm a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and I live in Toronto, Canada.