I work as a conceptual portrait, fashion and fine art photographer. My goal is to create images that express and explore gender, sexual and ethnic identities. To create these images, I use studio lighting techniques based on fashion photography, which involves preparation and customization of the set prior to the photo session.
I am exploring the use of these techniques in the construction of cultural and gender identity in the space of commercial and fine art photography, especially in the images produced for magazines.
I custom designed sets that are integral to my work, providing an irreplaceable component in my production of richly textured photos. The sets are designed to represent scenarios ranging from the rooms of a house, a surrealist scene to iconographic images. These sets, which are produced in a studio space, build the framework for character and story development integral to my exploration of cultural and gender identity as a social and esthetic construction.
The process of building these sets usually takes an average of 2-3 days, and with small modifications each setting can be used for multiple photo sessions. Given that the subjects participating in these portraits are usually performers, artists or models, with irregular schedules, the sets are in place for several days. Part of the set building process involves some basic carpentry with plywood, dowels and studs, basic spray and/or paint finishing to build the movable custom made walls and some custom lighting work in the studio.
The building of these sets, which are at times quite elaborate and may takes days to create and utilize, is done using unwanted furniture and household items, most of which are found discarded in garage sales, thrift stores, Grandma’s attic or personal closets. I create my own in-studio prop shop, where I store items such as clothes, accessories, small furniture, wallpaper, carpet, lumber, or even a staged scene in place of a plain background.
By utilizing objects that have been discarded by capitalistic consumption to build these portraits, I try to materialize the links between the recycling process in capitalism and the process of sainthood, which elevates the sinner to sanctity, and that of the image of the LGBTQIA subject from sinner/non-authorized non-represented by the canonizing camera to sainthood under the lights of the fashion photographer.