I am a photographer, on good days. On bad days I am mostly self doubt, but then I just keep drinking coffee until I feel better about it all.
I graduated from High School in the spring of 2002 and went to Franklin Pierce College that fall. I intended to study art, drawing specifically, because art was the only thing that by the end of High School I didn't hate doing. That wasn't my teachers fault, mostly, it's just that by senior year most students have simply had enough of that routine and want to move on the something new. I had no idea what I would do with a degree in Fine Arts, beyond some vague thoughts about being a comic book artist. But a degree in anything is still a degree, and off I went.
In my freshman year I took my drawing classes, but it was the photography class, added as a way to put off the core liberal arts curriculum until sophomore year, that really struck me. I had always liked cameras, I often carried at least a disposable camera with me, but once I got into the darkroom it all fell into place for me. Have you ever been in a darkroom? It's a feeling that I cannot really describe. It's like discovering that alchemy is real, and you can turn memories in to silver. After discovering the dark room I mostly left drawing behind.
I graduated from Franklin Pierce in 2006, and spent a few years at a few uninspiring jobs. In of 2007 I decided that I needed a change, so I applied to a grad school that I had been thinking of since my last semester in college. I was rejected. I redid my portfolio and wrote a new essay and applied again, and was rejected again, this time by phone so that there would no mistake. So I took what little money I had saved and went to Africa.
In Africa I took what felt like the first meaningful photos since I had been in school. I felt that I was in fact good at something. So in a moment of hubris I applied to an even better grad school. In a turn of events that surprises me to this day, I was accepted.
The Pratt Institute of Art is the kind of school that I never imagined I would be allowed into as an undergrad, let alone as a graduate student. I still have days where I am not sure I deserved it, but they sent the papers and that was that. I loved Pratt. Those may be the best two years of my life. It was challenging and difficult and I really started to learn something about art. I am still proud of the work I did there, and part of me will always miss the New York City.
In the years since I have moved around the country several times. I lived for a while in Lancaster Pennsylvania, where it wasn’t unusual to open my front door to find a horse and buggy tied up to the telephone pole behind my car. After that I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii and lived at the end of the road which felt like the end of the world. Now I am settled in Portland Oregon, which while nice isn’t as weird as I was led to believe. I still paint, and I still photograph, and if I can find the space I’ll probably start printmaking again too.