Art's Magnetic Field
Project info

The series Art’s Magnetic Field is a representation of the human desire to be in the presence of iconic artworks and the fundamental role photography played in their popularity.

I was inspired to create the series after thinking about the profound influence early photographs had in spreading great works of art around the world. Through books and magazines, people got their first vivid look at what was previously only available to the rich and powerful, ensconced in museums and private collections. Photography made them accessible to the masses, growing their familiarity and appreciation, and ultimately sending out the larger call to view these revered objects in person. People now travel great distances to see the Mona Lisa with their own eyes and stand at the foot of Michelangelo’s David, and of course snap their own photographic record of the experience. I overlaid dozens of those found snapshots to create each of the works in Art’s Magnetic Field.

We are so awash in the trillions of photographs in the world today that it’s easy to forget there was a time before photography; a time when one could only see Venus de Milo depicted in a painting or in a book illustration. I like to think about what it must have been like back in those days, to suddenly get one’s first glimpse of a photograph of her, or be privy to Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

In looking through and blending hundreds of snapshots of people’s pilgrimage to these famous works of art, I am taken by the never-ending power of photography to both show us things we’ve not yet seen and enable us to capture our own experience of having seen something we first laid eyes on in a photograph.