Travelling and exploring the boundaries of our world you feel yourself becoming closer to those of a different culture and place. You begin to see themes linking cultures across time, demonstrating the dynamic diversity of life throughout human history, but also, the core truths common to us all. Culture, and the expression of cultural identity through art, has always been the tangible voice of any societal group, and regardless of one's personal beliefs or bias, cultural extremes remain ever-present.

    My aim as an artist is to create work which conveys the wonder of this rich multi-cultural tapestry that is humanity, while offering the viewer an opportunity to contemplate their own place within society and as part of the bigger picture. To present these thoughts and feelings visually I use numerous methods and mediums, combining my love of language and literature with a passion for photography and an eye for design. This artwork deals primarily with couples, and is dedicated to the individuals involved, acknowledging cultural heritage and personal history, the result being a form of visual homage honoring all that they embody. It is important to me that my photographs depict genuine couples, as opposed to composite images of strangers that have no relevance to those portrayed. Most of the pairs live together, and are therefore entwined in their own relationships of emotional and domestic interaction. All works demand a tremendous amount of research, so I get to know my subjects personally and have built up lasting friendships with many of them.

    "Relationships" is a lifelong project born of many years travelling by bicycle from Australia to Europe - a journey totaling 55,000 kilometers which led through 45 countries, taking almost 5 years to complete. What one realizes is, more than all the man-made and natural wonders of the world one travels to see, it is actually the people that leave the true and lasting impressions. They are, culturally, the reason I started travelling in the first place, and have been the objective of my creative life ever since, so why would I even bother photographing anything else!

    Why focus on relationships? Quite honestly, because a relationship is symbolic of the deepest interconnections we make, representing the paths we must cross to overcome differences, and the bridges we must build to create unity. As such, a relationship is in my view, the highest form of symbolism - a oneness that surpasses every other form of human endeavor, reflecting the potential unity of all mankind. To be human is to be in relationship - this is an inescapable truth of the human experience, bonding us collectively while encouraging individual growth and development. Inter-cultural relationships are for me particularly interesting, not only for the obvious artistic possibilities, but also within the paradox one sees. It's that indefinable unknown where two cultures meet and merge which intrigues me, especially when viewed in the light of extreme cultural contrast.

    Covering people with their very own sayings and symbols gives credence to cultural depth while offering insight into who they really are. In painting messages across the skin I hope to somehow journey beneath the surface and penetrate deeper layers, commenting on cultural influence and inheritance. My intention is to be probing and informative, while exciting the viewer with virtuosity, helping to heighten an awareness of the world and our place in it.

    Total control can be the death of a work, extinguishing the very thing that ignited my enthusiasm, so I remain receptive to the energy of the models, looking for elements of interest within their personality; posture and presence. During conversation I concentrate on the individual and listen intently to what they are saying, for it is very much in the memory of them;- the nature of who they are and what they represent, that I find the quintessential key I wish to capture and translate visually. We discuss everything openly, considering what should be included in the work and why. I don't use a set of pre-planned questions but rely on spontaneity to generate inspiration; this in turn sparks off other ideas for investigation and development. The models often invest their own time in regard to the choice of sayings and designs that decorate their bodies and the background, adding further to the authenticity of the work. They are the manifestation of my vision, and without their input my art would lose much of its meaning.

    I choose certain couples because I find them personally fascinating. Not that I wish to emulate them in any way or become intimately involved, but being an inquisitive person, I am continually searching to expand my viewpoint, and meeting people is a great way to gain new perspective, thereby learning more about oneself. There are no boundaries or borders as to whom I photograph, regardless of colour or creed; social standing or stigma; financial or marital status; sexual preference; or extremes in age, size, weight or personal appearance. It simply doesn't matter, for we are all people, valid in our own right, and we all have a story to tell and that's something undeniably something.

    When friends ask why I photograph particular people I explain that my motivation is essentially the exploration of identity. If you question yourself about who you are, pondering your place in the world, you realise the answer not only comes from assessing what one is but also by coming to grips with what one isn't. By displaying a vibrant array of people from across the globe my work illustrates and celebrates these differences, while drawing attention to the fact that, underneath all we use to define and divide, when stripped back to our bare humanity, we are in essence the same. And that is worthy of recognition and contemplation.

There are some things that are really beautiful in life
and some things that are bazaar,
it's the two for me in one that are,
the way in which we are.
Garry Orriss 1997

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The heart invented the ear that we may learn how to be wise.