Vivid dreams. I go through phases. For months, my sleep is nothing more than a murky journey through a fogged looking glass. These are the peaceful nights of bliss, the nights of grainy, black & white. Then it all shifts into aerobic nights of tossing and turning—technicolor visions of the other side. It shifted into this phase the other night. During a peaceful dream the looking glass cracked and then shattered into a million pieces. I heard the shrill sound of the breaking crystal. It was as clear as could be. I awoke out of breath. The ceiling fan was silently rotating—its spinning blades looking like those of an army helicopter. I sat up and looked around. No broken glass here. But the shards were symbolic, the shift was complete. I knew I was entering a more active dream phase. The shadows of the moon were deep as I glided off like a bird of the night.
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Several years ago, while studying for my MFA, I realized that photographic images from my past possessed enormous power. Looking through old family albums were like mystical journeys into the unknown. All these souls staring back at me—some I knew, many I didn't. I did the arithmetic. Most were gone now, their once bright and hopeful eyes now just a memory. The old photo albums became a habit. The more I looked, the more I felt. How could tiny snapshots hold such power?
Most of the work I do in photomontage is a mystery. I find photos of enigmatic and interesting characters, live with them, file them, bring them out again, digitize them and restore them. Then one day, one (or more) of the characters speak to me. Then I move them into a new world of my imagination. Years ago they'd probably have medicated me (or maybe worse). Today I'm just an eccentric artist.
I have boxes of old snapshots. These days I find myself rescuing every old snapshot that comes my way. Once prized—people always say that the first possession they’d save in a fire is their photos—so many photos eventually find their way to flea markets, antique shops, and sadly, landfill. We try in vain, with our camera, to forever capture these moments, only to find each and every image is also of this mortal world. And so it ages and fades just as we and our memories do.
Snapshots are worlds within worlds. One could study an image seemingly forever and always find something revealing. Mostly it is the gestalt in which I am interested. I search for an over-arching impression, a feeling that grabs me. Most any snapshot makes me feel something. With all the photos I look at most every day, the gamut of feelings more times than not reside in the zone of melancholy.
My MFA Show, *Desolation's Comfort: Photographic Recollections* opened at the John F. Kennedy University Arts & Consciousness Gallery on October 1, 2007. It's been a year. Creating big shows is like giving blood. It takes awhile for the body (in this case, *soul*) to replenish itself. It was hard for me to look at the images from that show for quite some time. This week, I took the dust off the metaphorical storage box and started working on my *Desolation's Comfort* images yet again. It was finally time to revisit the work and add new images to the collection.