I like to approach photographing an object as the intersection of both what it is, and why it is.
That is, what does this object mean to the person who made it?
Or the person it was made for?
Or is it the product of its own evolution, and takes on the meaning we give to it?
In a way, it’s a little like being an archeologist, or maybe a detective, piecing together an idea about a person from the traces they leave. Unlike either of them, however, I often have the advantage of being able to speak directly with the creators themselves.
Maybe the best aspect of photographing things, for me, is that it allows me to actually touch history. I’ve photographed the revolver used to assassinate President McKinley in 1901, a letter signed by Stalin, Native American ceremonial regalia passed down through generations… things most people only ever see behind glass.
It’s quite a privilege.