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9x16", Ink Jet Prints
This project is supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Throughout the series, “Stories We Tell Ourselves”, memory, landscape, vernacular images, and narrative coalesce in a series of constructed photographs. Drawing influence from Edward Hopper’s American Scene paintings and Raymond Carver’s short stories set in American working-class towns, I create images that are set in non-specific American landscapes where melancholy is balanced by curiosity.
I begin the process for this series by photographing unoccupied suburban and rural areas to serve as backdrops that are enhanced via Photoshop. I then search through my collection of anonymous vernacular images – photographs with unknown internal and external contexts – that have been purchased in secondhand shops to find figures to inhabit the minimalistic scenes. In doing so, a pensive human presence appears as an rückenfigur contemplating the landscape for the viewer to identify with or as a visual device to direct the viewer’s gaze in or out of the frame. I approach finding the locations to photograph, and choose the figures to appropriate, with an eye for ambiguity and an irrational attraction and fascination to an often-overlooked detail that allows my mind to wander outside of the confines of my eye’s visual field.
In these re-contextualized photographic realities the landscapes and figures share a symbiotic relationship, which allows them to transcend time, space, and experience due to their juxtaposition. By creating composite photographs I am inviting the viewer to impose new meanings and create their own re-telling’s of the stories intertwining the anonymous figures and unspecified locations.