Even though these images were shot and printed digitally and look like several photographs layered and composited in Photoshop, they are straight digital images, the result of 30 years of observing and photographing reflections, shadows, and light interacting with the human figure in nature. My work has always been about the magic of seeing what is in front of one’s eyes if one really looks. Occasionally an image has been turned so that the reflection of the person appears to be an actual body, a technique I used in an earlier series of Southwest Canyon Nudes (1991-1996).
As a child, I was intrigued by the singular universe each tide pool represents and thought I was playing God when I moved a snail or starfish. Now, I am fascinated by the visual and metaphoric possibilities snails, barnicles, mussel shells, seaweed and rocks bring to my photographs. Tide pools have always been incubators of life and repositories of death. A small crab exits its exoskeleton to grow anew in the midst of scattered shells, long since uninhabited.
I find in these microcosms the same play of light that I had found in macrocosms before, so that the visual vocabulary I developed in prior work continues. The human figure reflects into a still pool representing one dimension and joins with the disparate pool elements, overlaying two different visual realities and scales. As our eye scans the information, it organizes the visual material to make sense of it, forming gestalts which unite and turn seaweed into lips or hair, barnicles into teeth, and mussel shells into body parts. As a result, the human form is fused with each unique pool, emphasizing the oneness of all creation, independent of creature, land, or scale. As the series evolves, flesh is seeming to dissolve and flow within the water pool, creating a new, almost painterly unity.