"The After Life of Things: Discarded, Collected, Assembled"
“The After Life of Things” explores the materiality of things and the nature of photographic materials, while celebrating the wonder of the traditional darkroom in an age of its demise. The project is about photography itself, both its practice and means of representation, its history and place in contemporary art.
I draw a parallel between discarded objects and discontinued photo papers as found objects, utilizing the typically unwanted color shifts and random marks characteristic of expired papers as a metaphor for impermanence and mortality.
The photographs are both images of objects and objects themselves. Most are printed life-size from large-format negatives to emphasize the physical presence of the object. Considerations of image scale, color balance and shape contribute to the creation of singular works defined by the unique qualities of the selected paper.
A diversity of subject matter has formed organically during the several years pursuing this work, as the project has expanded to include imagery inspired by collected objects as well as cameraless images. Its subjects speak to a range of human experience, including the idea of home, our relationship to nature, and the shifting boundaries of the sacred and profane. I’ve organized the images thematically to create relationships that bridge personal and cultural artifacts.
Most surprising has been the cameraless imagery, whose process uniquely isolates the effects of time on aging photographic paper. What results is the raw material for abstraction, often showing a striking parallel to Modernist painting.
Our relationship to things is rooted in the physicality of the object itself, and yet enters the emotional life of our memories, dreams and aspirations. With digital media and the virtual world now firmly established in our collective experience, this project celebrates the persistence of the physical object and its life in our imagination.