Explaining why I look dead in photos

Let’s start with some music…

For a while people have been asking me why I look dead in my photographs. It’s a reasonable question because many of my images have me laying down. However, usually I’m not “dead”, I’m just laying down with my eyes closed. Here are a few images that I’m frequently asked about:


This image was taken last year and titled “Drain the Tank“. It represents how I feel/felt about my own creative process. To me, creating something is the accumulation of many emotions or experiences. It’s a saturation until there’s a release from it. In this image there is a man laying in a creative “tank” where the water is draining. This murky water is the saturation that leads to something creative. It’s ten thousand videos on YouTube, or fifty songs. The work of artists I enjoy or a late night on Tumblr. The water becomes darker the more media that is thrown into my head. The creative tank begins to drain and all of that media leaves its mark. The colors saturate and I’m colored by them. This is true for emotions as well. The color represents a scar from the emotion or an emotion that I continue to carry. The dark water is all of the emotions/thoughts/media that swirl through my head.


I titled this image “shipwrecked” because it was supposed to have a frigid feel to it. There’s a man laying on cold, shallow, shores. He’s looking up towards the sky and breathing in thin air. It was as if a ship had crashed and he was flung to this spot. The image wasn’t suppose to represent an actual shipwreck but rather the feeling of being shipwrecked. Feeling stranded, cold and alone. Sometimes when we breathe we can only take in a shallow breath. We have to breathe slowly because we can’t breathe any deeper. When you get the wind knocked out of you, you have to take short shallow breaths. It can feel exasperating but sometimes life is like that. There are moments when we can only take a little bit at a time. We can’t take everything in, so we have to take in in smaller pieces. This image is a representation of that emotion. When you have to live moment to moment because the past and future are too difficult to think about.

Caught between the rising sun and falling stars” was deeply inspired by the song and video titled The Island Part 1: Dawn” by Pendulum. The video has the feeling of being on another planet or somewhere extremely foreign. Originally the shoot was for a friend of mine but we went different directions with our images. The colors strayed because I didn’t want it to feel earthly, I wanted something supernatural. The title is supposed to explain the concept behind the image: the feeling of being torn between many places. There are three sections to this image: the leaves, the sand, and the water. The subject is caught between both the water and the sand. The blur shows both the pull downwards and the evaporation upwards. I felt like I “had my feet in the water” but I wasn’t totally in. I felt like I didn’t know where I was. I was deeply pulled down but I couldn’t think anymore. I was torn in too many directions.


Here’s another song:

Although many of my images have me laying down, my underlying meaning usually has nothing to do with death. Laying down represents contemplation and going with the flow. It’s a static position. That means that there’s no movement, it’s just a feeling or something deep within myself. I feel shipwrecked, or the creativity inside of me. I don’t feel the need to change or show motion towards some end – it’s usually the environment that is dynamic rather than me.

If death is what you see, perhaps that is its meaning to you. We all experience things in different ways. I don’t want rigid ideas placed around my images because I want you to feel whatever you feel. Art is meant to be an individual experience: my emotion of creating it with your emotion reacting to it. The canvas is only a medium between those two feelings.Yours and mine.






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