The inspiration for this concept came from a YouTube video in 2011 that I saw while living in Buffalo N.Y. It was a video of a man dressed as a clown. He filled up a 6 foot tall balloon with a shop vac and got into it, proceeding to jump around his house. From that point forward, I knew I had to hunt down one of these balloons and do a photograph with it. I had no idea the journey that it would start.
I ended up finding some "Climb In Balloons," silicone lubricant, and a shop vac. At the time I was a maintenance man for a local real estate company, which meant that I had access to over 100 apartment buildings and houses, hence the wide range of locations during this year long adventure.
To get into a balloon I would fill it up until it was 5 or 6 feet tall and then give it to the model. Fully lubricated, they would stick their arms in and get it below their shoulders before all the air escaped. When necessary, I stuck the shop vac hose into the balloon to blow it up so that the model could continue to climb into it.
There was a list of things that I could never have predicted while doing this shoots:
- Anything sharp would pop the balloon. (nails, piercings, tiny pebbles on the ground etc; they were very fragile. Sweeping was always required.
-The balloons were too fragile to hold water.
- Two balloons were required per soot as one would inevitably pop. If I was unlucky both would.
-Scissors were kept near by in case of emergency. Luckily, they were never used.
- The model for Woman Trapped By Her Unwillingness To Just Stand was 6'2" and we were unsure if she would fit into the balloon.
-The Absence Of Hot Air happened on accident. The model moved and all of the air escaped. As I ran toward her with scissors, she said, "I can still breathe! Take a picture!" This is my favorite photograph of the series.
The black and white photographs were originally part of a separate series, but I decided to make them part of the same body of work. The meanings, to me, just made sense together. These orbs were 1 - 3 foot tall balloons that were held to flashes by tape, later removing the light stands in Photoshop. Each of the models that were in the climb in balloons also participated in the black and white photographs.
Woman Trapped In Her Own Solitude
Woman Pushing Back The Darkness
Woman Trapped By Her Unwillingness To Just Stand
Trust Us We Know Whats Good For You
The Light That Is Hard To Ignore
High Maintenance Woman Blinded By Herself
Woman Bending Backwards Over A Light
In The Absence Of Hot Air
Woman Empowered By The Light
Maxim Tells Her She Looks Beautiful This Way
Woman Ignores What Is Right In Front Of Her
A Woman's Rebirth Into A New Life
Confidence Is Letting Go OF What She Knows
Woman Reaching Out To A Light
This group of images has absolutely nothing to do with each other. This is where I put all my images of failed/fizzled projects, one-offs, and the rest of the photographs that I like that don't have another home.
The photograph Angel Looking To The North was shot on top of Ansan Mountain in South Korea. On top of the mountain there are railings keeping you from climbing out onto the boulders. The model decided she wanted to go for a climb. Seemingly all at once, the other spectators on top of the mountain rushed over asking the model to come back, saying that she would get hurt out there. She was out there for a total of 5 minutes. Using a wireless flash that my assistant was holding, we were able to do this wonderful photograph in one shot with no photo manipulation.
Woman With Smoke Between Her Legs started simply enough: take a smoke bomb, put it on a string, tie it to a dowel that the model holds between her thighs. The only problem in this logic was that the smoke acts as a propellant sending it flying in a circular motion, wrapping around the dowel until it is finished.The model just kept saying, "take pictures, keep taking pictures!" The dress melted and the model had a small red spot on her thigh, but all-in-all everyone was OK. Upon showing her the photograph, she laughed and said, "Totally worth it"
Woman In White Water With Blue Flowers is to date my largest photo manipulation. I had built a 10' x 10' box out of wood, layed down tarps, and filled it with over 100 gallons of water. After body painting the model, she laid in the water that had been mixed with white paint. Then, I strategically placed the painted flowers in different parts of the water. The real fun began when we started dumping dye into the water and swirling it around. In the end, the set had over 300 photographs that would be manipulated down to one.
Woman Unsure Which Way To Go
Woman Reading Under A Rain Cloud
Woman In The Street With A Bag On Her Head
Angel Looking To The North
Woman With Smoke Between Her Legs
Woman In White Water With Blue Flowers
Man In A Swimming Pool Under A Rain Cloud
Black And White
These images came to mind while I was living in South Korea. I found the conformity of Asian culture fascinating. Young people with tattoos and piercings were shunned, goth and punks were met with disgust and disdain from everyone from the streets to the subways. Even though most young adults would talk about conformity in a negative light, they themselves would practice it.
This series was shot during the winter in my first studio in Buffalo, New York. When I moved into the studio, the walls were not even finished. I rented this studio just to do this project, so the walls became my backdrop.
Having only 10 feet across and 6 feet deep to shoot in posed its own set of challenges. There was one light on a boom stand that once set up did not come down until the series was over, as it layed on an intricate series of pipes that once moved would never be put back into exactly the same place.
Normally, I look for new models to work with and pull in other people that I have work with in the past. This project was different in a way as I asked all of my close friends to help me out. They showed up week after week to do this project; it is as much theirs as it is as mine.
This series came to fruition in 2013. This was my first attempt at mass photo manipulation. The original results were crude, to say the least. That crudeness showed me that the ideas I saw in my head were possible to make. As my photo manipulation skills have evolved, I have updated the photographs.
Man Being Cleansed Of His Old Self
A Mans Test Opens His Eyes To Endless Possibilities
A Man Learning How To Walk Again
Men Testing Their True Charicter
A Man Learning He Is No Longer Alone
Man Putting On His Uniform For The First Time
White Suits Inspecting A Growing Concern
A White Suit Begins To Change
A White Suit Confronts His Old Comrade
Comrades Quarantine An Old Friend
Old Comrades Become Familiar With The New World Order
The New World Order Created By Men In Robes
Man Facing The Same Council With A New Facad
Perfection Or Prediction?
The first photograph of this series originally belonged to another series called Great Men From Unhealthy Ground, a series that was never finished. With it being such a strong image, I decided to build an entire series around it. I challenged myself to shoot this entire series in a single room in the house I was living in. I only ventured out of the kitchen for one shot, so in my eyes I mostly completed my challenge.
The common factors in every photograph are the golden apples. As the series progresses, more golden apples appear indicating the photographs' numerical order in the series.
The apples are a combination of real apples, stryofoam apples and leather apples. Gold spray paint followed by a glossy clear coat was used to give them their shine. Woman Learning How to Replicate Perfection was done with 50 golden apples, having the model hold the pose and moving the apples around in-between shots. This allowed the apples to have the correct shadows on them to make the photo manipulation believable.
In the photograph Woman Hiding The Spreading Perfection From Her Mother, the role of the mother was filled by the models' actual mother. In the photographs where the "infection" spreads from the apple, the "infection" was created by painting on the walls and counter tops.
Man Offering Perfection To A Woman
Woman Learning How To Make Perfection
Woman Cleaning Her Perfection
Woman Checking On Her Perfection
Woman Learning How to Replicate Perfection
Woman At A Table Enjoying Perfection
Woman Preserving Her Perfection
Woman Hiding Her Perfections
Woman Painting Over Her Growing Perfection
Woman Hiding The Spreading Perfection From Her Mother
Woman Realizing The True Cost Of Perfection
Woman Ending An Era Of Her Life
Nyctophobia: Fear of the Dark
It took almost a year in a half between the conception of this series and actually photographing it. The biggest hurdle I faced was lighting up the lampshades. Originally, I wanted to have everything done in a single shot. It was not for lack of trying, but this ended up being physically impossible.
The key to getting the desired effect ended up being a process called light painting. This is when you take a long photograph, 10+ seconds, and manually operating the flash while holding it in your hands. So, by taking many photographs I was able to "massage" them together. The key is that all of the pieces that are being put together are actually there in the photographs. They are not taken from other photographs taken on different days; they must be done during the same photo set.
The only time that we were caught was while shooting Nude Woman Sitting On A Log With A Lamp Shade On Her Head. An older gentlemen was on a nearby trail and had come over to see what the noises were. The model sitting on the log looks up and sees him, smiles and waves saying, "How are you doing today?" The older gentlemen laughed saying, "I have been coming to these woods for 50 years and this is the weirdest thing I have seen, now I've seen everything." He wished us well and went on his way. Shooting nudity outdoors always comes with its risks.
Woman Floating In A Swamp With A Lamp Shade On Her Head
Man And Woman Lighting Up The Night With Lampshades On Their Head.
Nude Woman On A Bench With A Lampshade On Her Head.
Nude Woman In A Marsh With A Lampshade On Her Head
Woman Peering Through The Trees With A Lamp Shade On Her Head
Nude Woman Sitting On A Log With A Lamp Shade On Her Head
Woman At The Edge Of A Swamp With A Lamp Shade On Her Head
Man Picking Up His Nightly Lampshade
Grace The Fallen
In my B-Sides photographs there is a photograph of an Angel looking To The North. I decided to expand on my angel photographs by putting angels into every day situations. What would happen if the angels fell from heaven doomed to live out their days as mortal?
Angel Laying In An Alley Way
Angel Mending Her Families Clothes
Haggard Angel Pumping Gas
Blind Angel Being Led By A Woman
Angel Smoking A Cigarette On A bed
Angel Trying In Vain To Get Back To Heaven
In the Bedroom
The In the Bedroom series evolved due to a lul that my wife and myself had in our creative lives. We decided to fill that lul with the self portrait photographs that you are currently seeing. These photographs are meant to be tongue and cheek, but take them as you will.
Woman Shooting An Arrow At A Man originally started as Man Shooting An Arrow At A Woman. My wife suggested we switch roles just to see and to have more options during post production. We instantly knew that we had something. We grabbed a golden apple is an ode to my series Perfection or Prediction.
The spray can that was used in Woman Disinfecting A Mans Gentiles was hairspray because that's what we had on hand. It was either that or Raid. It took 10 photographs to get the spray just right, which led to a sticky situation.
Woman Passing Gas In Bed has been one of the more interesting and difficult photographs to produce. The "gas" is green color run powder that was made into an aerosol spray with the use of a tube and compressed air. The first shot ended up all over the ceiling, which I had to paint over before moving.
Woman Praying To A Man took three re-shoots and almost a full 6 months of editing to composite everything into place just the way that I wanted it. The working photograph was deleted more times than I like to count. Sometimes the only way forward is to burn what you have and start over.
Woman Shooting An Arrow At A Man
Woman Disinfecting A Mans Genitals
Woman Passing Gas In Bed
Woman Praying To A Man
Hallucinations of our Imaginations
This series has been the most costly project that I have taken on. The background is paper and can only be used once before being cut off and very carefully taken out to the trash.
This is being completely shot in my dinning room. Every time I shoot, I must take down our chandelier and cover the walls with plastic after removing all of the furniture out of that room. Regardless of my precautions, paint has ended up on my living room carpet, dining room walls and ceiling.
A large portion of this project includes literally dropping paint on my models. Then after the paint has been dropped, I will combine all the of the appropriate paint splatter together to make these photographs into what you currently see.
Man Pouring Black Paint On A Woman was the male models' first photo shoot. When the female disrobed for the shoot and was nude the male panicked, not knowing how to react. He eventually became comfortable and we concocted loincloth for him to wear for the photograph.
Woman On A Rope Being Grabbed By Black Hands was created by screwing the rope to two individual beams in my ceiling to share the weight and hoping that nothing happened. Below were 6 friends who had black paint dumped on them, creating limbs grabbing at the model.
Man Covered In Black Paint
Man Pouring Black Paint On A woman
Woman In Black Paint Being Choked By a Disapearing Man
Woman On A Rope Being Grabbed By Black Hands
Man Demonstrating The Evolution Of Depression
A Man With Color Coming Out Of The Back Of His Head