ARTIST STATEMENT: ANOTHER MAN'S TREASURE
Another Man’s Treasure began as a challenge to see beauty in ugliness: to find worth in the discarded or left behind. I wanted to slow down and appreciate the ordinary. In my travels for my work as a large-format landscape photographer, I often encountered the prevalent abandoned cars, derelict structures, and railroad equipment strewn throughout the American West. While such sights were eyesores to me, I tried to see them anew with the eyes of an abstract painter, and to photograph them with the same methods and intensity I use to photograph a landscape, curious to see what would result.
Soon I began to hear stories and see patterns in the rust. My subjects were mass-produced, but time had since transformed them from identical to individual characters. The unique patina that distinguishes one rusted car from another of the same model is a record of events witnessed and human lives encountered during the intervening years. Like an archeologist who seeks out the refuse heaps of an ancient society to learn about their way of life, I see my subjects as relics of twentieth-century America, being slowly entombed in dust. I try to imagine what future archeologists will conclude about us from what we’ve left behind.
I photograph these found compositions with an "old-fashioned" large-format view camera in the field using natural light. This camera has no electronics and is much more difficult to use than a 35mm or digital camera, but with practice it produces images of a quality unmatched by any other method. I continue to rely on vision, practice, patience, and luck to make my work—not special filters, digital effects, or other gimmicks.