Monday, February 21, 2011


The winter months can be cold and dreary. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, things slow down a bit and I get an itch to get out and shoot something. Typically I like to wander through a few local parks in search of wildlife to photograph, yet during the winter months most wildlife await the return of spring. So I tend to turn inward to fulfill the need to shoot.
The image above is called "Paths." The photo was inspired by a number of different things that were going on both internally and externally before I shot this photo. The drug cartel violence along the U.S. and Mexico border was just starting to be reported in the media. Then there was the day to day violence that plagues much of the world whether it is in the name of religion, love, drugs, or the lust for money. Next was the layering of the things that people will often turn to in order to fulfill their "needs" during these long winter months (violence, shopping sprees, self-medication, etc or a combination of these things).
Internally I was asking "Why? Why do people do these things?" It was a question that was child-like and simplistic and had an astoundingly complex answer. At that point I thought, "Somewhere along the way, a person had a decision to make. A path to choose." That was when this image popped into my head.
As I planned this shot and arranged the items, a sort of "6 degrees of separation" started to take shape for me. I also began to think about the individual components of the image and depending on the path chosen aren't necessarily "bad." Derivatives of illicit drugs (the ones in the image are not real) are used as medication for patients, firearms and religion save countless lives every year, alcohol is often used to celebrate some of the most important days of our lives, and so on...
As a note, one of the things I struggled to incorporate was "love." The Bible is associated with love, yet I wanted love to stand out a bit more and a heart or ring were just too obvious nor would they mesh well. I came across a book of matches and it just clicked. A phone number on a book of matches, love, spark, flame, and burn just felt right for what I was wanting to get across and linked to the other components of the image. I substituted the word "Love" in the area where a phone number would be and it was complete.
There is a connection that can be made between all of the components in the image, both good and bad. When faced with decisions to make in your life, which path will you choose?

You can view my "Melangé" gallery for additional photos.

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