Artifacts of an Uncertain Origin
This is a series of images that I have been working on since late 2006. The process of creating these photographs is a hybrid of old and new technologies, beginning with a wooden pinhole camera and medium format black & white film, and concluding with tonal, contrast and selective toning in the digital darkroom. Although digital software does play a role in the polishing of the images, they are not composites; the artifacts were placed in the locations and each photograph is a record of the scene that was created in the landscape.
The images are a blend of the still life and the landscape, and through this melding of genres the contours of a more conceptual and theatrical landscape are created. In working on this project my previous experience with the landscape as subject has been reinvigorated and re-imagined by pairing it with the enigma of the artifacts I place there. Though these images certainly celebrate the beauty and mystery of the natural world, the landscape also serves as a stage setting for quiet and slightly surreal tableaux that suggest other themes through the artifacts that are placed there.
The artifacts exist not only as visual contrasts with their surroundings but also as metaphors and symbols for concepts that are both environmental as well as personal and human. The series is a vehicle with which to explore these different ideas through the presence of certain artifacts in specific landscapes, or simply to enjoy the serendipity of an unexpected visual juxtaposition. I see the series like a collection of short fictions or poems that convey the hint of a theme or a conceptual path, inviting the viewer to step in and follow where it may lead them, journeying along this path and discovering the story with their own imagination. This series is nearly complete, but there are still some additional images that will be added.