I’ve always resisted the idea that people can be summarised as any one thing. My curiosity, perhaps, arises from the mixed cultural environment in which I was raised, and I’ve come to think that art should both reflect and evoke the complex possibilities of the world in which it is created.
My father, an American, was a photographer, while my Filipino grandfather, a complex man if ever there was one, is a fine art painter whose work asks questions of identity regarding the Spanish colonisation of the Philippines. Perhaps due to their entangled concerns with cultural identity, as a child I was drawn to the natural world, finding both comfort and intrigue in the lives of insects and animals. These were my first photographic subjects, and I think the endlessly fascinating ways in which they interacted with their environment continues to inform my work, which never objectifies my subjects, but tries to capture the ways in which we both shape and are shaped by the character of our culture.
That is not to say that there is not a wealth of iconic photographers who have asked these questions in the photographic tradition. My work often brings in references to artists who also wanted, in their various ways, to build big and better worlds into the images they create. Despite (or in spite) of the mistaken view that fashion photography contains limited possibilities, I continue to construct images that seek to connect with and involve their viewers’ broader cultural imaginations, revising what can be contained in a fashion photograph.
See you there.