PARADIS | ARTIST STATEMENT
In contrast to the beaches I frequent in Portugal, as familiar to me now as a family member, the Seychelles were a destination I'd only visited before I considered myself an artist. This is the place, as a child, I'd idealized as paradise. Despite their difference, I have tried to make pictures for both Praia Piquinia and Paradis with new vision, or "regard" - a word that in French refers to observing. In English, appropriately, it also means attention, consideration, a feeling of affection, and respect.
While rediscovering the islands, I found myself shifting my camera between earth, sky, water, trees...trying with every shot to get away from the so-called conventions of framing. An approach that aligns itself aesthetically with some of the Modernists in photography, I was intent on seeing the Seychelles without the weight of parameters. (Just large cameras!)
Without our normal criteria for recognition, that which we look at can be renewed; new as in the first days of existence, breathing presence, light, and the incarnation of the world. In short, an image of paradise. So here, before these images, I hope for the viewer to feel exposed, like Adam or Eve before God invited them to name the elements of nature around them.
Some subjects are challenging to identify at first, while others play off the glare in our eyes; but even slight disorientation has the potential to disarm, and stretch us. We may suddenly find ourselves more receptive - like a child who discovers the world without predispositions, without judgements that risk to reduce his or her imagination.
Paradis represents a departure, literal and formal, from Praia Piquinia. At the core level, I've traded the traditional portrait format for a square; but even the image titles reflect their differences. In the case of Praia Piquinia, they are determined by the precise time and date each photograph was taken, whereas with Paradis, they are all called "Sans Titres"...untitled, unnamed, and open to your interpretation.