This piece took a long time, longer than usual. I didn't slave at it night and day, but there were a lot of elements tried, rejected, moved about, that sort of thing. This seems to be the way I work, and I do like this process of discovery - letting the image dictate the meaning, speaking to me over time. After a session, when reviewing the raw shots, some grab me earlier than others. This simple portrait stood out due to the slightly odd expression given to me by Zack, the model. It seemed pensive, a little uneasy, maybe a little paranoid.

That was the connection to me. Let me explain…

Lately in my neighborhood there has been a rash of break-ins. Closer to my home than I care for. One morning, at 6:30am, I walked out to my car to find human footprints in my driveway in the fresh snow. No one wants to be the victim of theft or break-in, but my selfish concerns extend beyond possessions, beyond the feeling of violation that comes with this type of crime. My concern is the loss of all creative output for decades, sitting in my computer and hard drives. Two decades of songs written and recordings made. Writings ranging from story idea, poems, song lyrics. Twelve years of photos, and every large scale file from my portfolio. These are the things I could never get back from insurance money, and the idea of someone walking away with it fills me dread.

And so I take measures. I have a home security system. I take my drive with me everywhere I go. I take my camera, lenses and laptop with me in a bag everywhere - everywhere. I have a dog that will bark if anyone comes near the door. All this helps, but it is, in itself, a sort of prison. The measures for a slight sense of security. The awareness of this element in the world enrages me, fills me with dread, and occupies too much of my mind. It escalates over time, and is slowly disconnecting me from humanity.

This image grew from a curious portrait to my take on this feeling of security by self-imprisonment. My character is plugged in, hooked up to systems unseen, wound up, and anxiously vigilant. In the distance the fire, another threat to hearth and home that could lay waste all my create works. Perhaps the figures in the distance walking toward the fire represent thieves, or perhaps they are merely citizens going about their lives, free of the wires and requirements of the fearful mind of the main subject, who wears camouflage on his face to either hide or keep watch unseen.

It's been a hell of a hard week, and coming home each night is release, but only after I confirm that all items in the house are accounted for, that no invaders await within, and all who live under my roof are safe and sound.

Model: Zack Barnes -

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