The photographs in this portfolio are made with a large format, film-based camera, placed very close to the subject. The subjects of my photographs are objects, documents, photographs, and books stored in cases and file cabinets as treasured historical artifacts. The outcome of this effort is to transform the usually small and often fragile remnants of the struggle for freedom and equality into images larger in scale than the original subjects.
The Manifest portfolio has been concerned with objects in public collections that represent slavery, abolition, the Civil War, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Albion Tourgee, opening of the western territories, Zora Neale Hurston, Harlem, the U.S. Civil War, and the Civil Rights Era to name a few of the narratives that inspired these photographs.
I am increasingly interested in the residual power of the material remains of the past. The ability of objects to transcend lives, centuries, and millennia, offers a remarkable mechanism for folding time, bringing the past and the present into a shared space that is uniquely suited to artistic exploration. While the artifacts are remarkable as visual evidence of lives and events, I also intend the viewer to consider this informal catalog as a survey of the impulse and motivation to preserve history and memory.
The various projects that have occupied my attention during the past two decades are, in retrospect, part of a singular effort to seek out the ghosts and resonant memories expressed in various aspects of the material world. I am drawn to the stories “dwelling within” a spoon, a cowbell, a book, a photograph, or a partially burned document. All are potential agents of vision.