The spirits of dancers have always intrigued me. They prance or glide onto stage, a seemingly natural and effortless playdate between themselves and the dance floor, as they entertain the audience. Or maybe as they entertain themselves? I’m not sure. That’s what I’m trying to figure out as a dance-worshipping, curious artist.
This project, “Dance Warriors”, photographically explores the mysterious and passionate spirit of dancers. What I’m interested in is tapping into the tribal-like spirit of what I refer to as Dance Warriors: those who dance because it is their only choice, for the art and movement of dance is what their life is about.
I have been perplexed and inspired by, in awe of, the many dancers in my life. They push their minds. They push their bodies. Day in. Day out. They live through dance. They die through dance. They have a seemingly love-hate relationship with dance. Their bodies are their instruments, for better or worse. But not dancing is never an option. So they just dance…and it consumes them. These dancers seem to house a tribal-like spirit, within themselves as well as with their fellow dancers.
And then they flutter onto stage for the rest of us to enjoy. Entertainment for the audience. Oxygen for the dancer. It looks so easy and natural. But most people don’t see what goes on behind stage. Maybe the dancers can explain it…or maybe then can just dance for us. For themselves. And the rest of us can just watch and imagine.
Dance Warrior, NIKKI
Dance Warrior, PENDU
Dance Warrior, TRACEY
Dance Warrior, JENNIE
Dance Warrior, SANDRA
Dance Warrior, MACY
Dance Warrior, MORGAN
Dance Warrior, MATT
I am impatient by nature. But I'm also visual. And tactile. These could be the reasons i'm obsessed with instant film.
I fell in love with photography as a teenager at the hand of my 1970 Canon FT. But it was in the darkroom that i became obsessed. Digital photography has its place, but film will always be my sexy true love.
Pink Sky Over Buildings
One Hand Matt
Matt Hangin Out
Blue Sky Lines
Las Vegas Alley
Birds in the Shadow
There is no way for me to sit at the base of this mountain and not move my paintbrush.
My spirit houses both a photographer and a painter. Sometimes these two get together to mate, and baby prints are created in the studio.
back in the day
As a teenager and young adult, i spent most of my camera and darkroom time experimenting. Those were glorious days of carefree, creative exploration. Most of these prints are 20+ years old. And still sexy.
Talk to the Hand
Talk to the Hand – The Art of a Woman’s Voice
I was in a time of personal transition and found myself sitting in a pool of questions. I wondered why I had to work so hard for things and why there always seemed to be different forces of resistance. It’s true I had overcome some pretty tough obstacles, but was left feeling quite exhausted by the uphill journey. Ideas of creating a balanced and meaningful life as a mother, artist, partner, and individual began to occupy quite a bit of real estate in my head. So I began talking to other women…and the flood-gates opened.
Women laughed, unleashed, cried, and shared with me. It felt like all I had to do was barely scratch the surface, and feelings and stories seeped through their pores. Frustrations and struggles, joys and victories. I was caught off guard by how openly women spoke to me, even if I had just met them, about their experiences as a woman in today’s workforce, military, their own homes. I wondered if women just needed a good listener to sit across from them, but it didn’t seem that simple. Women needed to be HEARD.
This project was birthed out of curiosity and intrigue about the female spirit and her experience in today’s world. As I explored the idea of what it means to be an empowered woman, and if that’s even how women feel, I was struck by one continuous theme: STRENGTH. I was blown away and inspired by the amount of strength women house within their spirits, and how generously they share it when given the opportunity. Women undergoing chemotherapy still making lunches for their kids everyday and listening to their girlfriends’ latest life news. Widows who are struggling to put food on their table still encouraging their neighbors to have faith in the outcomes of life. Teenagers that are getting bullied for being different still determined to pursue their own dreams. Shark attack survivors that still want to competitively surf and always have a smile on their face regardless of losing a limb? Yep, that too.
This group of 21 photographs was taken over 12 months. Each participant selected chose her own word(s) of empowerment to represent her journey, and ultimately represent all women. I think I can speak on behalf of the participants of this project (whether they were photographed or not) that we all feel more connected to ourselves and to each other than before. It’s not that we are anti-man (in fact we LOVE the men in our lives!) – it’s just that we are proud to be part of the tribe of women. So when our jobs, health, relationships, or society in general knock us down, we can borrow courage from ourselves or each other to get back up. And we may even have something to say about it when we do.
March 4, 1943 – March 19, 2013
Christina Jessee worked as a mother, grandmother, and loving caregiver her entire life without receiving a single paycheck. She committed her life to raising three amazing daughters, including Amy Jessee, her adult daughter living with cerebral palsy, whom she cared for until the bitter end.
I had the honor of shooting Christina on Thanksgiving day, 2012, just before her battle with cancer came to a head. She knew her word (”Beyond”) immediately, and was very clear about what she wanted out of the shoot that day: she wrote in cursive on her left hand, and asked me to duplicate the word in my writing on her right hand, and she didn’t want to look at the camera. When I asked her about the meaning of her word “Beyond”, she said, “There’s life beyond this illness, whether it’s in this lifetime or not.”
We should all hope to age with the style and spunk of Christina Jesse. She wasn’t perfect, and spoke freely about that. She knew her strengths and faults, had accepted both but wasn’t focused on either. She knew she was neurotic about her nails looking perfect…and they did always look perfect. She didn’t hide her obsession with clean white sheets, which her friends and family tell many loving and funny stories about. To say she was proud of her newfound freedom and courage to rock hippie braids everyday in her late 60s is an understatement [insert her daughters’ eye rolls here]. She was honest about the intense struggle of raising children and keeping a marriage together. She relentlessly bragged that her grandchildren, Colin, Lauren, Jack, and Riley, were the smartest and most amazing children in the world. She giggled about how much more she loved her husband, Ron, with every passing day. Her daughters, Gina, Amy, and Jenefer, were her world.
This project pays a special tribute to the tribe and spirit of Christina Jesse, a woman who lives "Beyond" this world now.
20 Mile Meal, COAST
Multiple exposures. Because sometimes more is better.
girls on film
These girls don't shy away from the camera. Even if their makeup isn't done. Pajamas and bad hair days welcome. Attitudes aren't always in check. Sometimes they are being themselves. Sometimes they are being somebody else. All I care about as the photographer is getting an interesting shot of these kick ass females. These are girls on film.
windows and doors
Apparently windows and doors intrigue me. I could dig deeper for a meaning, but I'd rather just enjoy the images.
sexy in the kitchen
food is sexy. and so is collaborating with chefs. it's tantalizing double artistry.