Print, Process, & Capture Specifications 

I shot the project digitally using the RAW file format and manual exposure on the 20 megapixel Canon 6D and various Canon lenses. Most of the pictures consist of four or more pictures using the digital format, which worked best because it allowed for an easier method of creating montages in Photoshop that many times consisted of 20 or more layers. Using Smart Objects on the original RAW files allow for subtle transitions in exposure, blur, sharpness, and color to blend the elements to create one unified piece. In Adobe Photoshop I used individual adjustment layers and clipping masks to assist in the fine details of compositing of each piece. The digital montage techniques represent the marriage of the physical and spiritual realms to visualize my concepts and beliefs in a way they could not be completed another other way.

My prints were printed at White House Custom Color. The custom-made portfolio box alludes that all of us came from dirt and our bodies will return to dirt after eternal souls leave our bodies. The final project consists of nineteen 12”x18” lustre prints dry mounted on 3mm white styrene with the absence of glass hinting at the direct relationship of prayer between the physical and spiritual worlds.

1 Dust
1 Dust

Project Evolution

I enjoyed the challenge and excitement of working with the lighting, costuming, and posing of my projects. Reflecting recently, I found my early days of stop-motion animation helped me to make sure the little details were crafted well. Not being a good pen and paper artist, I am now empowered to create art that I see in my mind’s eye using photography instead. Pre-visualizing of the completed post-production work is something that comes easy for me now. Before this project I had almost never used a 1×1 aspect ratio. The old square formatting stylistic choice helped challenge me to push my exploration of composition. Eventually I changed to the 3×2 ratio that helped create more cinematic themes. I found the exploring of implementing Scripture passages directly onto the imagery to be a valuable exercise in learning more about style and blending modes in Photoshop. Thanks to the advanced Photoshop classes and lots of trial and error, I have grown so much in my ability to create using blending modes, masks, and selection techniques.

The germ idea for this project dates back to the fall of 2013 in Photography Concept with Shannon Ayres. He pushed me to explore what was most important to me. It was during Ayres’ class I started shooting conceptual pictures of my brother in authentic Roman armor. My early digital montage work needed vast improvement so I took Digital Montage in the spring of 2014. My Advanced Photoshop directed study in the Fall of 2016 prepared me even more for the level of detailed work I needed. Now I have become even more passionate with the connection behind my spiritual concept, grounded by my faith and my love for the art of photography. After passing the Midpoint Review, I continued to study more of the artists and photographers who have inspired me. This awareness of the great masters of the camera helped me improve and refine my own unique style.

Though the project is now complete, I look forward to continually learning more ways in the production and post-production processes to make future work better. I truly believe this Thesis Project was the most worthwhile project I could have chosen. Looking back I can see how the Lord worked out the details and gave me strength to bring me to completion of my terminal MFA Photography degree through the Academy of Art University.