National Trust
Project info

My project ‘National Trust’ began in the darkness of the Lincoln Memorial. The memorial can easily feel like a reverential place, but Lincoln’s colossal marble statue dwarfs the people who come there and his words tower above them, so there’s a psychologically-charged drama about power that plays out between the space itself and its visitors. The memorial is fascinating precisely because it is such a complicated place, and it sets the stage for what ‘National Trust’ is mostly about: the ongoing trust that we place in institutions to represent the United States, and to represent us – the people.

I’ve made this work during a period of increasingly broken trust that the American people bestow in authoritative institutions: financial systems, government, mainstream media. And yet, we are still tied to these institutions, which trade on carefully crafted surface appearances. In a basic way my pictures, like any photograph, describe surfaces: architectural forms recall the grandeur of Greco-Roman temples, and political rallies and press conferences exist as meticulously staged theatre sets. However, my pictures also call attention to the enduring role that surface appearances play in the telling and retelling of history. I depict these surfaces as existing amidst an atmosphere of mystery and darkness that recurs throughout the body of work, and this aesthetic mirrors my feeling that there is a continuing and profound erosion of trust within American society.