I have an admission to make, which is that I find I don’t always have the right words to express myself. Photography has singlehandedly contributed to my ability to communicate with others because I can show people what I mean instead of trying to find the feeling in language. So, you could say that photography is kind of like my superpower, really. My photos bring me into a realm of communication that bypasses the spoken word. Also, I can fly. But that’s totally a secret.
My first camera was a Pentax K1000—all metal, all manual, all the time. I had to keep the lens cap on the lens so as not to drain the battery. It was stressful. Nowadays, I still prefer simplicity. My favorite photography forms are pinhole and iPhone, although I do shoot professionally with a Canon DSLR, a Hasselblad, a Leica and some good old fashion Polaroid from time to time.
The first photo I ever developed myself was back in the Pentax days. I developed the photo in my bathtub. I was 12. It was a photo of a boyfriend. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. Now my favorite subjects include anything I’ve never seen before, anything I hope to look at again in 50 years, and anything I want to pass on to my two boys. If I’m lucky (and I’m usually pretty lucky), all of these bases are covered in a single shot.
I’m coming at this from the perspective of a robot called Smilebooth. There’s a scene in Risky Business where teenage Tom Cruise, with the house all to himself, puts on “Old Time Rock and Roll” and dances his heart out, sliding around the living room in his socks and whitey tighties. The absolute freedom of that self-interaction has always stuck with me. Something about dancing on your own or making faces in the mirror brings out an unrestricted playfulness in people. My aim is to transpose that feeling into the context of a shared experience, creating an environment where all participants are free to be the star of their own show.
I’ve taken on a lot of different projects over the years, but throughout everything there has been one ultimate goal: to create complete experiences on all scales, whether massive corporate blowouts or intimate gatherings, that empower the inner bliss of the crowd and allow them to let go for the evening. I seek to strike that elusive balance between the reality of spectacular stunts and the sur-reality of widespread adrenaline rush, coursing through an entire crowd and creating a shared experience that cannot be forgotten.