College Application Portfolio

  • On a hot summer’s night in 1889 a man who had recently lost an ear looked out through his barred windows and saw a landscape that inspired one of the most famous paintings in history. That disfigured, imprisoned man was Vincent Van Gogh and the painting is titled, “The Starry Night.” This past summer I travelled to France to connect with my family, which I, not unlike Van Gogh had been away from for a very long time. I wanted to learn who I was, staying in the French town of St. Rémy de Provence helped guide me to the answer. Walking down the cobblestone streets I felt closer to home in this foreign country than I have ever experienced in my living room.
    My second day in St. Rémy I visited the sanitarium where Van Gogh committed himself after he had one of his violent episodes. When I stepped into what was at one time his bedroom I felt a tingling sensation down my back, I imagined how much pain and heartache these walls have witnessed, how these floors have at times been the only ground under the feet of so many lost souls. I glanced out to window hoping to spot a Cyprus tree and sure enough there it was, and a giant field of lavender and sunflowers as well. I could not leave this bedroom until I had created something that had meaning.  I knelt on the floor and captured as many images as I could with as many angles and exposures as I could achieve so I could have images to choose from later rather than be trampled in a tourist attraction. Unable to really see how my pictures came out until returning to United States I spent many train rides shutting my eyes and imagining what I hope to create. I decided to set up a story with, “The Starry Night” glowing out through the barred window and a paint brush or some oil paint dropped on the floor as if to say he ran outside to paint it. 
    Van Gogh once said, “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream,” which is an idea which speaks to me deeply, but while bringing dreams to life is a beautiful idea, it is also nearly impossible. After countless drafts, punching pillows out of frustration, and “giving up” more times than my self-esteem would have liked, the final image took about 8 weeks from beginning the photo’s editing to completion. That amount of time for completing a piece might sound strange to other photographers but I could not stop manipulating and drawing my dream until it was as I had seen it in my head in Provence. 
        In my image of “The Starry Night” bedroom I have placed the original oil painting behind the bars of the window as if to show what the outside world looked like through Van Gogh’s eyes. I made sure to take the technique and look of his oil paintings and bring them into the image to blend his fantasy of that night and transition it back to the universe from where his vision originated. I feel as if this piece was first imagined back in that summer’s night in 1889. I learned through this piece to not always take pictures that embody how I see the world, but rather ones that embody how I imagine the world, because although I cannot reach my destination without using my eyes to guide me, it’s the path I create in my imagination that truly decides how I will get there.
     
  • Originally the picture was taken at noon on a clear day, I manipulated this photo of a small European town to look dark and gloomy. The large overwhelming focal point of the church left the image feeling unbalanced; by adding light and color I was able to lead the eye through the image to complete the balance.
  • Welcome to France 


    On Bastille Day in Paris I was walking the Champs-Élysées and found an unusual character: an odd looking man sleeping on a wide handrail. While getting ready for capturing this picture, a drunken man whom I had only ten minutes earlier witnessed attempting to steal a woman's purse stood in front of me. After shouting obscenities at me in both French and English he raised his small flag in my face. Rather than my instinct to ask him to stop, I thought it better to capture something I could have never expected.
  • I recently discovered the "Droste" effect, originally seen in a Dutch chocolate company's advertisement around 1900. I thought the idea of an image within an image forever getting smaller was perfect for a photographer to experiment with. I wanted to recreate this effect on the subject of depression. From personal experience as well as what I have witnessed with others it seems to create similar effects on people's minds. When depressed one might feel as if no matter how hard they scream for help their voice gets smaller and smaller, furthering their disconnect.
  • The hair and dog's collar could not have more perfectly matched with the background. I wish I had reevaluated the light before taking the shot.
  • Matching the soft expression on her face the watercolors also completed her color and the overall composition. I felt the inclusion of stories over time from the newspapers would help add to the look of the image.
  • Trying to challenge myself by taking photographs, and turning them into complete digital art; I created this self-portrait. In it are an authentic 1920's tuxedo and top hat; I also am ironically wearing a cold war era gas mask: exploding.
  • Over the past couple years I have been experimenting with taking ordinary creatures, and turning them into exotic modern art. For anyone living in the Pacific Northwest, a Canadian goose is a very common sight. Through imagination and photo manipulation I was able to create an image, which has since helped my reputation grow in the local art community, as well as helping me get my first art gallery opening.
  • To offer some back-story, this young boy in the foreground did not know the family in the background. I have always preferred capturing candid images of strangers than having people pose (outside of fashion). In reality he was not sad, he was laughing seconds before, he was simply about to pick up his bag. I was attempting to challenge myself by creating a story and set up emotions that were not really there. Bringing in color and emotion together I thought a blue tint would help create the feeling of the young boy being left out and not being a part of his family.