Enchiridion / JordanRiver Michaels
"I find at times that I can’t control the way my mind works but photography allows me to create an alter ego outside myself. My body becomes the subject of a narrative that allows for the expression of emotions that I can control. I look to religion as a way of interpreting my fascination with and curiosity about death. I present my body as an object of purity and sacrifice using my interest in fashion and painting as a lens through which to lure the viewer into my personal space. I wanted to bring my own personal experience with religion and a new way of interpreting the Bible to the forefront in a photographic process. I hope the images create a tension between wanting to look and feeling that one shouldn’t. I am the art director, model, photographer, light designer and costumer. I join the viewer as a voyeur of myself.” JordanRiver Michaels
JordanRiver Michaels is a USA based artist, art director, publisher and art curator. Specializing in lens based processes, JordanRiver studied at Baltimore School For The Arts, The New School, Parsons School for Design, Maryland Institute College of Art and Towson University.
Starting at the young age of eight, JordanRiver trained under a master oil painter for eight years. Early on he became very interested in the still life paintings of Northern Europe, 1600–1800. Specifically, he was captivated by juxtapositions of life and death: human skulls combined with beautiful tulips, a dining set displayed with dead birds. These paintings were filled with warm light that created a soft yet contrasting visual. The emotions attached to the imagery were dark, moody, profound, yet simple and calming. The specificity of the objects suggested both the beauty of life and the finality of death as well as the mystery and complexity of existence. JordanRiver’s early interest in painting and light inform his photography.
Allowing light and atmosphere to play a vital role in his images, he eventually added a human element to his work. Working from his own journals and sketches and using himself as subject, he is able to access personal narratives that explore gender, identity and mental health. Michaels hopes that his luscious colors and surreal environments evoke a sense of both loss and fulfilment for his viewers