Absence Portraits
Project info

Found photographs have intrinsic qualities that shape our perceptions of an image and inform our understanding of its time, place, and socioeconomic circumstances. By digitally removing the person from old cabinet card portraits, Rivera reveals an artificial environment created by the photographer to heighten the perception of the subject. Bereft of the individual, only a stage remains. The tension between presence and absence is heightened by the placement of objects that were meant to compliment the body of a person no longer there. The stage that we see is a perfect tableaux of projected desires and fantasies. In an attempt to transcend class and location during a time when photography was mostly restricted to the studio, a virtual environment is created which eerily resonates with our digital age.