The convergence of my passion for exploring the world and collecting old, often damaged objects, ephemera and antique photographs led to creating these collages. Combining and repurposing various materials allows me to create a precious object that both honors the legacy of the past and carries the imagery into the future.
My emotional connection to this work is different from other projects. I know my gaze is falling on the subjects in the same way the photographer saw them many years ago. When I hold a portrait I suspect I am holding a photograph the subject held and studied. Some of the materials have survived since the late 1800s.
Occasionally I can see where a photographer retouched an image, revealing a presence that exists even in absence. This is a reoccurring theme in much of my work. A fingerprint may be embedded in an old negative or a print may have the signature of the photographer or the name of the subject, but most of the images are of anonymous people and places made by unidentified photographers.
By combining parts of books, negatives, photographs, fragments of antique printed material, watch parts, children’s drawings, old postcards and anything that exists in my odd collections, I am able to create new images. These collages are painstakingly difficult to make. Finding elements that will work together and that are the proper scale is an endless challenge. The result is a tiny, often textured collage with subtle depth that can be difficult to recognize when viewed on the computer.
This work is the antithesis of the “perfection” of digital photography. The only requirement I have imposed for these collages is size and that each piece includes some element that is a photograph, negative, or other material related to making an image using a camera. Currently there are 80 handmade collages in Bending Time.