Visiting The Dead
When I was a young child in the fifties, I had an acquaintance by the name of Jim. Jim had fought bravely in our country’s wars. He was a kind young man, with an easy laugh and big brown eyes. Jim sometimes felt lonely, and he looked forward to our talks as much as I did. The one other important thing to know about Jim was this; Jim was dead. Even at my young age, I knew enough to keep Jim to myself. Whenever we drove by the National Cemetery, and passed the northwest corner where he resided, my conversations were silent and internal. In retrospect, in the 1950’s, having an imaginary friend who was a dead World War II veteran was not the norm. But for a shy child, my imagination and creation of stories filled a need that I had to make sense of the world. I have always been drawn to understanding those who came before. I have always felt that there is a dimension of feeling and spirit and energy that transcends generations, and I have always been moved by stories and images. Somehow I was born in northern climes with a southerner’s narrative soul. “Visiting The Dead” follows along these themes that have been with me my whole life. I engage in a process of being with vintage images that I have sought out, and allowing the subject’s “story” to emerge. I feel a deep empathy with and respect for these lives that have come before me. With the juxtaposition of their portraits with other vintage imagery or photos I have taken contemporarily, I hope to create imagined narrative portraits that might strike a chord of familiarity or resonance with the utterly human experiences we all have, regardless of who we are, when we lived and where we came from.
These images are one of a kind, archival inkjet prints on a base of acrylic paint and 24k gold leaf.