“Can You Believe it?” is a meditation on a weekend the author spent with some friends at a kung fu retreat about twenty-five years ago. Through this personal narrative, the author ruminates on the nature of belief, reviewing how martial arts and religion have had an influence on him and the culture at large.
“Water Striders” addresses the mundane through a surreal metaphor. Focused on the abstract feeling of monotony or depression (or whatever it is the reader can find in it), “Water Striders” juxtaposes this with a fantastical realm, creating a mystical narrative of negative emotionality. Finally, when the protagonist breaks the cycle, the readers are left wondering whether this leads to something better, worse, or just different — we can’t know.
How often do you question your existence or the existence of others? Can we ever feel completely certain of the external world (or even our own inner world)? The following visual art series, “Disintegral,” focuses on the alienating effects of dissociative disorders, in which the sufferer feels fragmented, solipsistic, and unreal. “Disintegral” focuses on this fragmentary feeling through a series of pen and ink drawings.
Do those who live in a democratic state take their freedoms for granted? How does the behavior we exhibit when we travel outside our home country reflect national and cultural values? The following personal history piece is a sketch of life under two brutal dictatorships: François Duvalier (“Poppa Doc)” of Haiti and Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. Vacationing here in 1961, the author narrowly avoided being shot. “A Tale of Two Dictatorships” records a one-day experience with two very strange American tourists. They should be a lesson on how not to behave abroad.
Living in a civilization that offers no clear rites of passage to adulthood, we are left to craft our own. And this is often less of a craft and more of a crash, a clash with conditions that no longer fit our growing anxiety about who we are. Stranded without a vessel, abandoned on the continental shelf of your future, you are left to deal.
Is it just me, or is life just surreal? The common theme of this photo series is conveying everyday surreality. Granted that New York is a very good place to capture this, but to some degree, examples of this can be found everywhere. There is normality and order, and then there are exceptions to this. I find the exceptions stirring. Is there a moral or profound conclusion? I don’t think so. Some aspects of life can escape notice to an untrained eye — I used my camera to linger on them long enough, intending to bring them more firmly into the conscious mind.
The topic of abortion is an ongoing moral, legal, and religious debate. Should we be protecting the reproductive rights of women or the rights of the unborn life? The following fiction piece, “The Choice,” presents a fantasy regarding what Jesus would think of abortion and what, if anything, he would do. Mother Theresa said, “How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love.” It is the author’s hope that some version of Jesus’ way can be transmuted from fantasy to reality.
“Waiting Cold” addresses how ideologies affect the way we live our lives. How do ideals sometimes block what is observable? How do others try to understand the world, and how does that differ from our own attempts? If we hold common ground regardless of the individual principles held, would we be able to recognize it?
To be human is to be a paradox. Celebration tinged with tragedy. Hardship inspiring resilience. Happiness inviting discipline. The state of “human-ness” is a condition of being and becoming. Whatever we are now, we are never fully actualized. Even in youth, we age. We are forever in flux, ever realizing abeyant potential. At any given point, we are any and all of these things simultaneously. The photo series, “Paradox: The Human Condition,” gathers these layers of paradox into two-dimensional stills — snapshots of the “human condition” sampled from different lives. Together, they form a harmonized arc illustrating beginnings and ends, and beginning again.
The following inventory project is intertwined with the pain of restricted freedom of movement in this current health crisis period. From this grounded place, a longing for intimate places outside the confines of the home arises. Each of these images is part of an inventory count of moments that were taken for granted and are no longer so.