Oct 30, 2013

Decompositions Studios: My Other Outlet

I started this blog back in August of last year with the loose idea of sharing my ideas about music and the many things I have learned over the years while playing with some of the coolest dudes, and best friends I've known since I was around twenty years old. Confessor and Loincloth have been huge parts of my life, and I could never truly express how grateful I am to have been able to go down the underground highway ( no pervert, that's a different highway ) with all of the guys who have stepped in and out of those bands.  But before I became a drummer I thought I would be some type of visual artist.  I met my oldest friend on the first day of eighth grade, and he really nudged me towards exploring the illustrator side of myself that I had only played around with before meeting him.  Danny Gallant and I were nearly inseparable for several years, and we were partners in crime together.  Because of the joy I got out of spending all night up in my room drawing I applied to a magnet high school here in Raleigh where I met several people who had equally significant impacts on the direction of my life. Phil Swisher helped guide me towards playing an instrument, and Monica and I met on the campus of Enloe High School, becoming the very best of friends, then boyfriend and girlfriend.  Jump ahead several years and months of online stalking, and  I was finally able to coerce her into marrying me.
Music has been my primary outlet for creativity over the last two decades, but in recent years I have also found that I love looking at the world through the lens of a camera.  I wrote in my very first post here at The Poundry that I would write about that side of me as well because I know many of you have found it incredibly difficult to sleep at night without understanding all of the ways in which I amaze people.  You may have found that last sentence to be amazing in its own way.  See!  I can't stop it.  Amazing just pours out of me! Sometimes it poofs out of me in gaseous form.  Sometimes amazing comes out in ways I don't even recognize!  Okay, okay, I'm kidding obviously.  No gas has ever poofed out of me. A bunch of B.S, yeah sure... but never gas.

I have been a little reticent to post my photography for a few reasons, not the least of which is that I don't want to bore people who just want to find out what's going on with Confessor and Loincloth.  But I thought I would take the occasion of Halloween to tie horror in with some of what I have done with a camera.  A lot of the photos I take have a kind of bleak, eerie feel.  The photograph at the top of this post that we used for the Loincloth album is a perfect example.  As I have mentioned before I tend to gravitate towards the darker side of things.  I discovered how much fun I could have behind a camera when I was trying to gather artwork for Confessor's second release, "Unraveled".  The skulls and bones that were inside "Condemned" were mine ( the African masks were Scott's ) and we wanted some continuity in the layout.  I borrowed a camera with a macro lens from my grandfather and started snapping away.  Here are some of the shots that eventually became my very first photographic show, with a few others I still like.

Alien Monkey?

Nope, just a dog with an underbite.  I do love how other worldly this guy looks.  

Everything Is for Sale

I got this bear in Seattle, though it had a tag saying it was not for sale.  Yeah, right! Everyone has a price, and this giant bear from Russia is one of my favorites!

Muskrat Love

When everyone knows that you collect skulls you get some interesting gifts every now and then.  A friend of mine found this at the Great Lakes.  Sadly, our dogs found it years later.

Mini T-Rex?

Nope, just a common mouse that had dried up under the dishwasher at Monica's parents' old house.  Aww, it's sleeping...

The One

One of my favorite skull shots.  Tell me this doesn't look like The Dark One, himself.  This may end up being used for Loincloth one day.  

Okay, that highlights what I was doing when I decided to explore photography.  Having a lens that allows you to get within a couple if inches from your subject makes everything look really cool.  After seeing these photos I decided just to use them as screen savers at home. Not too long after that I coughed up the money for a relatively nice camera and started taking it with me everywhere I went.  I had done that before with the idea that I would be the annoying tourist anywhere I happened to be, and it was a lot of fun.  I have some incriminating photos of lots of my friends.  This time around I decided to be a little more creative in what I photographed and I inadvertently opened up a world of endless intrigue.

Here are some of the photographs that represent the kind of thing I look for when I shoot what truly interests me.  Again, there is a Halloween/Horror theme that runs through these.  I hope you find them interesting:


Part "The Scream" and part Jack the Ripper.  I like how the figure blends in with the background.  This guy sees everything!


Is it just me, or is there a figure with an extended arm being burned here?  Though it's probably tough to see here there is a face in the upper middle of the image too, like a really angry, old hag.

Always Watching

What vile, nasty creature is behind that peephole, anyway?

Until the Screaming Stopped

Art that would make Dexter Morgan proud!  No one died for this photograph, though it looks like someone could have.  

It Steals Away Their Babies and Swallows Their Souls

A hard concept to get in two or three words, so I took the Robert Williams route instead. You do see the figure with outstretched arm holding an infant, don't you?  The voices in my head first pointed it out.

Finally, I want to throw in some fun photos Monica and I took one afternoon at a cemetery here in Raleigh.  Cary gave me some glow in the dark miniature zombies for Christmas, along with a pack of B-Horror movie "victims".  We took them and a small pot we had with fancy moss growing in it and used a forced perspective trick to make it look like the zombies were attacking people in the cemetery.  They came out really well, and were a pretty big hit last year at a Halloween exhibition downtown.  Yeah, it's pretty cheesy but they are fun. Hope you get a least a chuckle out of these:

Nowhere to Hide

Ha ha!  Thought you could hide from the slow, plodding zombie, eh?  They can always sniff you out.  I'm not quite sure how their noses get so sensitive after death, but it's absolutely true.

They're Coming, Barbara

You better at least try and run, Honey!  The photographer is morally obligated to let things play out on their own.  You have to act as though he isn't there.

Zombies Always Win

Truer words have never been spoken!  It may take a few years, but they will catch you eventually.  Even  the zombie dog looks evil.  It's hopeless!

Zombie Apocalypse

Slithering, lumbering, plodding brain dead idiots.  Whether they are fictitious zombies or the morons we all have to suffer in daily life, there is no escape!  They ruin everything!

There you have it!  Your introduction into another realm of creativity that I dabble in from time to time.  I thoroughly enjoy photography, in no small part because it's the only outlet in which I actually get to see an idea of my own completed without outside influence.  I never have to listen to three other people tell me how they would have done it better, which is kind of what being in a band is like.  Sometimes you agree with their suggestions, often not.  It's all good, but photography allows me to keep in touch with the visual art side of myself.  Plus it keeps me out of trouble!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Keith! I mean it! I had planned to be a lot more invested in being a photographer by now, but I had to put that down while Tannon and I finished Iron Balls of Steel. Once he went back home the things I shoot weren't as easily accessible anymore. I still take a camera with me most places, and I do plan to jump back into it once band stuff slows down, or picks up to a level that means I don't have to work anymore. Our lives just get busier and busier, don't they?

  2. Amazing as always. Some reek of visual death, in their coldness (in the second category). will you start snapping away for the new Confessor/Löïnclöth releases?

    1. I'll run through what I have when the time comes. I would not want for the two bands to be so similar visually when there are already such comparisons made about our music. Actually, finding suitable cover art is really tricky. At least musically, we are all on similar pages. Once you get into a visual representation of the bands' vibe opinions come from all over the place. By the way, your radio show and your comments reek of warmth and life. Gross!

    2. Oh yeah... if you think these are cold, you should see the ones I tend to like the most! The folder I keep them in is entitled 'Bleak Chic'. Barren, post-apocalyptic landscapes. Nummy!

  3. i SHOULD see those. But hopefully we'll enjoy mor eposts about photography on here! it's a real treat to see the visual artistic side of someone who has already aced and won me ove with the audio aspect.

    hmm...you're right, that comment does emanate a stench of warmth. i'll call the exterminators first thing in the morning...