When I look in the mirror, I want to believe that what I am seeing is an extension of myself even though I know that it isn’t. I’m seeing a reflection (an illusion) of me and my world. I can never quite trust a mirror.
A picture creates a similar false sense of reality. The nature of photography tells us that what we are seeing is true, but it’s not. It is a selective truth, or even a fiction.
One night in Jamaica, as my father and I drove through the mountains, he described a recurring dream: he is in his hometown, Saint Mary's, at a certain winding road that’s shaped like an N, trying to catch the bus. He misses it and has to run up the mountain through the bush and slide down the other side to catch it. This is his only dream set in Jamaica. He told me as we approached the N. I listened while chewing on my sugar cane. It’s strange hearing about a dreamscape while physically going through it—like déjà vu.
I feel this sense of familiarity driving through my father’s dream. But what’s more overwhelming is the sensation of jamais vu: foreignness in what should be known. The moon you see, the air you breathe, and the flowers you smell are all suddenly unfamiliar. You’ve moved, traveled—maybe even transcended—although you don’t know to where. You look in the mirror and see yourself, but can’t be sure that it’s the same reflection you saw yesterday.
This is why I photograph: to capture a trace of the unexplainable. My pictures are where dreams meet the physical world and earthly things take on higher meaning. I search for the uncanny. I uncover what is hidden. An obscured face, a wet flower, a dark shadow.