In 2007, as a senior in high school I had the incredible opportunity to work with Dan Winters.
In my high school all of the seniors complete a 'senior project' which is an independent research or creative project of the student's choosing. I had begun to experiment with an old 35mm Minolta and decided I want to explore photography further. I really knew nothing about the field and my dad (a former plumber) mentioned that he could put me in touch with a photographer for whom he had plumbed a darkroom. I said "sure, why not." It was only later that I realized that having photographed people such as President Obama, Brad Pitt and the Dalai Lama, Dan is arguably one of the best portrait photographers in the world.
Dan (one of the busiest people I've met) graciously agreed to help with my project. We settled on doing a series of portraits of my class from school. At the Waldorf School students stay with each other from kindergarten through high school, so I felt that this project would be a good way to pay tribute to the depth of the relationships I had with my peers. Being inspired by the simplicity of Richard Avedon's portraits, I settled on a series of black and white, square format images.
The project was shot in one day with Dan's medium format Hasselblad camera. He guided me through techniques for lighting, operating the camera, timing and directing subjects. The project was concluded with a series of prints that I made in his personal darkroom. The photographs here are the same that were printed for the exhibition.
While at the time I knew that I was incredibly lucky to be working with someone like Dan, it is only now that I can see what this experience did for my development as an artist. Dan truly inspired me to pursue a visual career. His vision and work has guided and shaped my own. His technical ability to create a style is what every photographer seeks, but I believe it is truly his ability to capture vulnerability in his subjects that makes him a master. I now carry this same goal with my work.
This is an experimental project in which I seek to portray sound through image alone.
This series was shot on 35mm Tri-X. Each photograph is uniquely printed in the darkroom using paper cutouts and light manipulation. They have not been digitally altered.