Studio Gaines

In my 38 years, I have been influenced by a lot of things, but as I have gotten older I have realized that it is sheer creativity which inspires me the most. Architecture and landscapes fascinate me with their ability to be adapted and transformed depending upon the needs of their creator, be it the artist or Mother Nature, and how they fit into the context of history.  As I wander through the streets of Philadelphia, a city rich in history and rife with lost beauty, I find myself constantly tripping over sidewalks, stepping in puddles, climbing fences, and clearing other hurdles in a never-ending pursuit to find what once was, what is, and what has been obscured and lost to time.  It is my desire to capture all of this before it is lost for good.  This is my way of preserving those pursuits, as well as to show the evolution of my work as a photographer and as an artist.

When it comes to personal influence, there are a few men in particular who have influenced me the greatest.  The first is my father.  From him I learned to gaze upon this world with a certain sense of curiosity, wondering what's out there. There's no doubt I get my creativity from him, as well as my desire to explore and my fondness for quirky things. I am who I am because of my father.  The second is my grandfather, who was a professional photographer.  The man was literally cutting and pasting before there were computers, hand making Christmas cards each year featuring my mother and uncle sledding down a snowy hill, as snowmen, painting 'Merry Christmas' on windows, or any other holiday scene.  There is no doubt I get my photographer's eye from him.  

On a less personal level, in the sense that I have never met him, Walt Whitman has also been a huge influence on me.  As a senior studying English, I wrote my Senior Thesis on Whitman.  His style of freeform writing struck me in a way no poet had before, as well as his way to capture his feelings and emotions in a veiled yet obvious sort of way that only his fellow comrades could decipher.

Who is Mr. Gaines?

"Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." - W. Whitman