I was attracted to making books for conceptual, aesthetic, and emotional reasons. My interest in narratives, through the sequencing of photographic imagery, and the desire to hold that sequence in place, prompted my first volumes. Eventually, I realized that I wanted to anchor my photos with writing; books not only invited the viewer to “read” images and text, but also to interact by touching pages and leafing backwards or skipping forwards. And finally, memories of colorfully illustrated childhood books, combined with a rebellion against dull and uninviting adult ones, inspired me to create visually enticing bookworks for mature readers.
The photo printmaking processes I employ date back to the invention of photography in the mid-nineteenth century and were popular with professional photographers such as Edward Steichen and Julia Margaret Cameron, at the turn of the twentieth century. Light-sensitive chemicals are mixed with water in subdued light and coated onto a sheet of 100% rag (archival) paper. Black and white negatives I shot are placed in contact with the coating, and this set-up is exposed to ultraviolet light. The paper is developed so that unused chemicals—those blocked from light by the dark areas of the negative—are washed off, yielding a positive image the same size as the negative.
From the moment, as a child, I held a camera in my hands, I knew that somehow the medium it represented would be a big part of my world. And so, even though I attended a conservative art school that did not recognize photography as a fine art (!), when I saw the work of Robert Rauschenberg, I was inspired to combine my training in drawing, printmaking, and painting with photography. Out of that endeavor came my interest in alternative processes and color digital photography. I am aware of the controversies surrounding photography and the gaze. I feel the proliferation of photos in everyday life to the point that taking pictures can interfere with experiencing life. I notice the way photography is being used to exploit the viewer through advertisements and opinion media. I have tried to use that knowledge to create books and prints that expand the concept of documentary statements.