In the series, “Stories We Tell Ourselves”, my fascination with memory, landscape, vernacular images, and narrative coalesce as constructed images. Drawing influence from painter, Edward Hopper and writer, Raymond Carver, the goal of my photographic series is to create open-ended narratives set in non-specific American landscapes to suggest the melancholy that can be found in mundane daily happenings where loneliness and longing border bewilderment and hope.
I begin the process for this series by making landscape photographs of suburban and rural areas, which have the potential to be viewed as “Any Town”, U.S.A. In doing so, I am interested in finding vacant locations to serve as backdrops for the pleasantly familiar scenarios that will play out in the depicted scenes.
The next step in my process is to activate the landscapes by loading the depicted spaces with the presence of a person. In doing so, I search through my collection of vernacular photographs to find depictions of people that have the potential to become characters in my suggested narratives. I then scan the chosen vernacular photographs into Adobe Photoshop where I extract the appropriate figures from the photographs and composite them into the landscape images.
In these newly re-contextualized photographic realities the depicted landscapes and the extracted figures share a symbiotic relationship, which allows them to transcend time, space, and experience, while taking on new visual roles to signify generalities, rather than specificity and individuality. The removal of the figure from one photograph and its insertion into another calls into question the legitimacy of photographic representation while commenting on the distortion and exaggeration of the ways in which events can be remembered, depicted, or perceived in photographs. The actions, now being performed by the figures in the newly made landscape images, take on new meanings that have now become mysterious rather than innocent.
All images copyright Dominic Lippillo.