"Studies in Contrast" is a project that emerged from a blog post called Face the Enemy (link here), in which I turned my camera on myself, not only as an exercise in creative boundary pushing but also as a way to publicly discuss an autoimmune disorder called vitiligo, which for the past 25 years has caused irregular and unsightly depigmentation of my skin on various parts of my body, but most extensively on the one place I can’t conceal from the world: my face. And when your face begins to disappear who are you?
Vitiligo is the reason I prefer architecture and landscapes to people as visual subjects, and what few self-portraits I have made have been with a camera concealing my face, in shadow, from behind or at a distance. It is also why I began reclaiming my skin ten years ago by getting tattoos, giving the world something unusual to stare at on my own terms. I have long wrestled with issues and ironies of concealment and disclosure, isolation and connection, and the play of light and dark in my life and work. My initial positive experience with these first difficult self-portraits has prompted an ongoing investigation, in which I am exploring how the effects of the superficial damage to my skin relate to the aesthetic of contrasts that dominates my work, challenging standards of beauty, and letting anyone who suffers from vitiligo or any other reason to avoid a mirror, know that every face is worthy of art.