Images of Images

This series is an intimate and exacting examination of pre-existing photographic material, intended for reproduction at a relatively large scale. The images within the series seek to illuminate the history of a photograph as an object in the world, cataloging the material changes that time and circumstance have wrought on each source photograph. At the same time, by looking closely at pre-existing images of those long since dead—portraits that invariably required stillness and the full cooperation of their subjects—metaphysical questions about presence in photography come into play.

The source materials for the series include some of photography’s earliest forms, such as the daguerreotype, in which the silver plate, despite its durability, is still a biologically active surface. Other source materials include news photographs and hand-painted studio portraits, where surface interventions were often a deliberate and carefully controlled part of the process of the creation of the image.

In my previous photographic portraiture I’ve implicitly questioned what it is about a still image that can both hold our gaze and initiate a chain of thought and speculation about what’s taking place within the moment being depicted. In my moving image work this has led me to examine the ways in which the introduction of time and movement can specifically alter and enhance our speculation about what has just taken place or is about to occur, the “before” and “after” of the moments depicted. In these recent time-based observational portraits, I depict individuals who are seen in moments of apparent self-reflection and absorptive private thought, yielding video images that encompass both duration and stillness. With Image of Images, I’m seeking something similar in the still image: an encounter with a human presence that conveys a sense of an ongoing moment.