MONUMENTS TO STRANGERS
In this work I utilize news images and materially re-contextualize them to emphasize the limitations of photography as an emotionally and factually accurate record of the time. I combine analogue and digital processes to underscore the ways in which news photographs have been produced and how that production
affects our understanding of cultural history. The photographs look at the selective representation of
the individual within printed daily newspapers from the 1880s to the1960s.
The figures in the blocks are unknown, but they were at one point important, or significant enough, to have their image produced in this way. The images are etched into copper or zinc, creating long lasting portraits that have proven permanence over time. I imagine the names of the figures, question what they were once important for, and explore the social context behind them. I don’t seek to make a document as they were used before, but to photograph them as visual monuments. Men are abundant; women are few and far between. The images pertain to births, graduations, professions, weddings and obituaries. Through these images a story begins to evolve of the major life events and rights of passage that people continually move through then and now.
The objects I photograph were originally made by a photomechanical process to reproduce photographs for publication and is an invention of Fox Talbot’s. It was the first time in history images of reality could be reproduced on presses reaching the public, rather than an image interpreted and altered by hand. While in use for over 80 years, it was an imperfect process that eventually was made redundant by offset printing in the 1960s. An outdated process, today these blocks have no use. They have become antiquated, much like the newspapers that they were once printed in. I am photographing them to present this historic process and lost imagery in a new way, using the technologies that made them obsolete. In re-photographing these images, my photographs are several iterations of light sensitive materials being exposed; the original photograph, the re-photographed negative, the photomechanical produced block, and my exposure. Each image thus goes from a positive, to a negative, recorded once again as a negative, then inverted to a positive. It is in this long chain of events, which traverses over decades, that the glow of light and color occurs.
The photographs are hung individually and in groups separated out by the depicted subject’s sex, age and race. Consequently, there are large groups of men printed smaller, and smaller groupings of women printed larger to point out their lack of representation, while also trying to reclaim their importance in history. The photographs describe the history and limitations of photography, and reveal contemporary practice at the same time.
BETWEEN THE GROUND & SKY
These photographs are centered on the changing landscape of the Danby Marble Quarry in Dorset Mountain, Vermont.
The Danby Quarry has been in use since the 18th century, it is over a mile long, has a footprint of twenty-five acres
and is 1½ mile deep. It is the largest underground marble quarry in the world.
I began photographing the marble curious about its use but eventually became charmed by the physical history carved
into the space. The heavy unyielding material takes a geometric form inside a huge organic landscape. I am
fascinated by the constant metamorphosis of the space. Etched, carved and broken apart Danby Mountain is a record
of time. The physical markings inside the mountain created by the both the original method and the current method
of quarrying is at the center of my interest due to its impact on the nature of the mountain. From the beginning of
quarrying there to today the technology has vastly changed and is visible inside the walls of the quarry.
In the shallowest depths the quarry reveals the chaos of past axe quarrying in the ceiling, showing every
stroke each man took while the more recently excavated spaces reveal the control of diamond rope cutting into
precise geometric cubes. Each method has left an indelible impression on the mountain by destroying its natural
state and creating a geometric and ordered new landscape. These are the qualities that I find both interesting
and intriguing. I am fascinated by it’s now formal beauty.
My photographs of Dorset Mountain undulate between buried underground, immersed in darkness to being elevated into
the sky and mountains, overcome by light. The sense of where you are is confused by ever changing planes of focus.
The ground and ceiling, up and down, become indistinguishable. I photograph little to indicate scale, rather creating
a world where a mountain can be a pebble, a crevice can be a valley and a stone can be a grave. Through photographic
examination I hope to reveal the captivating landscape of this place while evoking a sense of its history and question
how it will continue to change in the future.
ALL THAT LOVE ALLOWS
These photographs are a personal investigation of the changing relationships within my family. Photographing my Mom,
Dad, and two brothers I am examining how aging and distance has changed our relationships, and how the lines of what I
believe are normal have become blurred. It is a curious and strange time in our family as my mother is now aging and ailing
and we, as her children, now care for her. My father holds onto the idea of my brothers and me as young children while
my younger brother is neither child nor man. I still long for the days when we could all still fit and cuddle in the same
bed on Saturday mornings. The expectations between children and parents have been curiously, and questionably reversed.
These photographs are about the sadness and confusion of illness and aging, nostalgia for childhood, and an insecurity about
the future. To make these photographs I stage my family within the family home in poses and situations that are from my
memories, reflecting real and imagined occurrences. They are the staged family photograph, referencing both a theatre in
photography as well as the familiarity of family snapshots.