I was born in Australia and educated at the school of hard knocks. My mother was a Dutch woman, a homemaker, and a child of eleven. My father who began his early twenties as a truck driver, would eventually became a military man, joining the Air Force, and we moved around a lot because of it. My family home was always a place of secrets, drowning in violence, alcoholism, and mental illness. Life was frantic, unpredictable, and terrifying most of the time.
At the age of nine, my mother and father decided to go their separate ways. She packed me up, we took off, and not long after that my parents were divorced. My new life with her didn’t bare any fruit as she was ill, both mentally, and physically. And, after years of watching her disintegrate, she lost her battle with cancer, and I began a new chapter in and out of foster homes. Foster homes that were also dripping in disfunction, abuse, and violence.
As a child of the system, my time was spent in court rooms, in strangers’ homes, and in even more loneliness and uncertainty. Until eventually, I landed back on a doorstep with my father, and his addiction. Not long after this, while most children were just beginning their self-discovery, going to school, and beginning to shape a future. My future would begin in the streets, as a runaway.
Like the moon has fazes, and the tide flows…
I spent many years sleeping in doorways, parks, and on beaches. I suffered at the hands of rape, abuse, and criminal behavior. My teenage years were peppered with abduction, police line ups, the underworld, and face after face of perpetrators. Anger, misunderstanding, labels of damage, and eyes that had only seen the world in all its filth would lead me to even more trouble. Writing would become my medicine, while movies, photography, and music, would become my family, my history book, and my education. My life as a young girl was not reflected in commercials, it wasn’t something people spoke about, and my experiences and my identity seemed out of reach, like a dream, and something unbelievable.
At sixteen I got one of my first “jobs” It was standing on a stool and working the spot light at a drag show in a gay club called “The Exchange Hotel” The gay community was the first community that accepted me, embraced me without judgement, and took me in. It was also a community of creativity, expression, and color. Drowning in clubs, I found movement, and I found freedom in dance. This was a turning point bringing me recognition, and a way to bleed without words. I could release my feelings without having to speak, and I was very good at it. I spent many years as a dancer, in all forms. Street performer, music videos, plays, and live performances. It became a means to progress, a means to money, and it gave me a new chapter that would also lead me to America.
I arrived in Los Angeles in 1991, and the nineties were an incredible time, although still not out of the woods, I had begun the journey into “the real world”
This real world would take many shapes, over many years. Eventually leading to film, filmmaking, and acting. After some success in front of the camera, I decided that wasn’t where I wanted to be, it wasn’t where I felt fulfilled, passionate, or creative. Behind the camera felt like home, and it gave me a place to hide, speak, cry, laugh and scream, all at the same time.
Over the next decade I would indulge in all things creative. I began a career in film production, working my way up from production assistant to Assistant Director, Director, and Producer. Learning as I grew, and learning from the ground up. I have carved out a career, many new identities, and an obsession with process, images, and the power of artistic expression. I also bought a camera and began a new obsession with taking photos.
I didn’t go to any fancy schools, earn any degrees, or have any one teacher. Life has taught me many things, and has given me eyes to see the world in all its beauty, tragedy, rage and joy, happily. I am obsessed with the human condition, understanding what is unspoken, and the metadata of human emotion. I take photos as a way of communication, a way to put a pause button on life, so as to investigate a moment, in forensic detail.
My life thus far has been a gift, although it hasn’t felt like that at times. My perspective, my understanding of those misunderstood, and my ability to see beauty in darkness is something I cherish.
I am deeply connected to the streets, to the stars, and all that’s in between. I take photos of feelings, not people. It has taken many years to feel comfortable in my own skin, and my own head. It has taken what feels like a lifetime to share myself as a woman, and as an artist. And the journey to share my life story, in any capacity, is an ongoing process.
Photography is my way to hold people’s hands, to hold people’s hearts, and to share beauty in color and in gray scale. We are nothing if we are not indulging in our humanhood, and sharing our experiences with others. We are nothing if we are not growing with the world, and those around us.
We are all artists, we are all beautiful, and we all have a story to tell. I live in the here and now, and I tell stories, frame, by frame.