Republica Dominicana

This week marks my third visit to the Dominican Republic in the last two years. My first trip, back in January 2015, was an extended three-month stay in which I worked at an international American school on a major branding and marketing project. Each time I have returned to work further with Santiago Christian School, building their brand and producing photographs and video for them and each time it feels a little bit like going back home. I am always greeted by warm smiles and friendly handshakes as well as the warm sun and I’m so grateful for the community here that welcomes me back each time. 

During the first trip I had the opportunity to visit places all over the island, from the beautiful beaches to the stunning mountains. I recently came across a roll of film I forgot I shot during my last week on the island. These photos taken in Palo Alto, a mountainous area with some of the most incredible vistas I have ever experienced. The film is old and a bit under exposed which is unfortunate but what a great surprise to be reminded of this incredible adventure. Looking back on these photos, I am thankful for the continued opportunities to travel and work in the fields (art + design) I love, for organizations that seek to do good. Again, I am reminded of how special it is to be offered belonging in places around the world and I owe it all to the wonderful people (now dear friends) that have offered their hospitality and kindness each time I have touched down in their home countries.


Geanna + John Michael engaged

I think Nahant might be one of North Shore’s best little secrets. Just a short drive out of Boston, this tied island is mostly residential but also features some incredible coastal landscapes that feel as though they belong in the wilderness of Maine. Geanna and John Michael had a way to park in the town (which is no small feat) which allowed us to explore some of the coast, a part which had previously served as a World War II bunker.

The beautiful and raw coastline was the perfect spot for Geanna and John Micheal’s engagement shoot with it’s stunning vistas and very New England feel. We had a great time climbing around the rocks as Geanna explained various geological and biological features of the area. John Michael seemed pretty convinced that he wasn’t going to like some of the more “dramatic” poses, but I think with this kind of scenery and this stunning couple, it all came together really nicely—even the serious ones.

I can’t wait for their wedding this summer!


Mirrored

A short visit to one of my favorite spots outside of Boston, World’s End park, allowed me to experience Jeppe Heine’s sculpture piece ”A New End.” His piece, a small spiral maze made entirely of glass pillars, explores the ideas of what art can become in relation to the landscape. The piece drew me in instantly, challenging the way I saw the environment, multiplying the beautiful surroundings and forcing me to understand my presence in that place as I saw my reflection.

While I didn’t know it at the time of the shoot, this sculpture, this landscape and the photos intersect in a very interesting place in my practice. What reminded me of this intersection was actually Es Devlin’s episode of Abstract, Netflix’s design documentary series. Devlin is a stage and environment designer and the way she talks about the void of space and it’s need to be filled really resonated with me thinking back on Heine’s piece. Devlin has a particular interest in mirrors too, using them to fill the space and involve the subjects and viewers in new way. Speaking on one of her recent pieces which featured a mirrored maze Devlin said, “The word ‘selfie’ is derisible in a way but self portraiture is not uninteresting at all. There’s a wonderful tradition of self portraiture [in art] and finding and studying yourself so I think giving people a conscious frame to take interesting pictures of themselves within, that might make them think in a new way about their place within an artwork [is really interesting],” she continues.

I think this series of photos explored questions similar to both Devlin and Heine. While this isn’t a self-portrait, placing a person in the space allowed me to ask similar questions. The lines between environment and person blend with the use of mirrors, leading to deeper interactions and loss of identity. How do we experience our environments? Where are the lines of distinction drawn? Do they have to be drawn? Reflections and refractions collide the three elements together—environment, person and art. I find this type of collision and investigation because it challenges the way I see and capture the world around me, especially people in that world. 

This series, shot on Kodak Portra film, was as much of an exploration of the medium as it was placing a person, Todd, in the space. The film photography offers a way of grounding the disoriented images in reality. As part of my continued interest in using film in my regular practice, small projects like this really open up my thoughts as well as my ability to experiment. I know these images aren’t perfect but I think their roughness and imperfections add to this conversation rather than distract. I’m looking forward to doing more of the same.

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