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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 my experiences, American Scene painting, and the settings found in Raymond Carver’s short stories where melancholy is balanced by curiosity, I seek out non-specific American landscapes to photograph and embellish by adding atmospheric conditions and appropriated figures that are alien to the landscapes.
I begin the process for this series by photographing unoccupied suburban and rural areas to serve as backdrops of the everyday. 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 unassuming details, thus allowing 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.