Dean J. Birinyi
On this new year's day I offer this image titled "Introspection"

I shot this in 2000 but have kept it in secreted away all this time. At the time I created this image I was experiencing some significant life changes and was doing a lot of soul searching. It was during the construction of the composition that I decided to move to California. I'm bringing it out of my archives now because once again I have experienced dramatic life changes, and am ready to face the new challenges with greater insight to my drives and ambitions. The time for private introspection has passed, the time for action has come.

You can see the influence of Rene' Magritte's "The Secret Life IV" I have always been intrigued by surrealistic imagery, the surrealist movement and the surrealists themselves. They looked below the surface of our rational minds and delved deeply into the altered realities of our dream state. They sought a deeper understanding of our consciousness and our perceptions of the world and explored how the concepts of our dream state could be expressed through creative imagery.

I look beyond the surface of my subjects, architecture and interior design seeking to gain an understanding of the designers intent. I believe our creative natures have a direct connection to-and spring forth from-the dream state, where our mind is free to roam beyond the world our physical senses perceive and fabricate a reality unlike any we have previously experienced.

My walk through procedure has a correlation to Salvadore Dali's induced psychosis technique. Dali would transform his perceptions of the world around him through the use of sensory overload and intense concentration. I don't go that far.

When I prepare to photograph a subject I let go of my expectations and preconceived notions of what the world is supposed to be. I allow my imagination free reign and try to experience the world as a child would where everything is new and exciting, unique and wonderful in their experience. This gives me a deeper understanding of the impact my subject has on me, and this understanding of the effect upon me allows me to create images that communicate the designers intent more effectively than if I used an entirely rational, conscious approach.

I use the same technique when photographing other subjects as well, but I'm less confident talking about that process because I haven't given it as much thought.