Submarines 2005 - ongoing
Since its invention by Nicephore Niépce in 1826-27, photography has provided us with glimpses of the many different worlds around (and within) us.
Scientific and medical photographs give us a window onto a previously invisible world; news & documentary photographs show us the world as others have experienced it; advertising photographs tempt us with the sugar-plumb world offered by the sponsor’s Product; family snapshots record the world as we will subsequently remember it and, in exhibitions and galleries, photographs of ‘moments-of-the-world-as-art’ confront us with scenes & events made special by the photographer's attention.
Some photographs create worlds by the act of recording them.
The camera describes our 3-dimensional world as a flat surface because, with its monocular ‘eye’, this Cyclops sees it as one. By depicting as a surface what our binocular vision interprets as depth & distance – and by extracting discrete ‘slices’ from what we experience as a seamless chronological continuum – the camera regularly confronts us with scenes and ‘moments’ otherwise invisible to a ‘bino-chrono’ consciousness like ours.
The scenes and ‘moments’ depicted in these photographs did not already exist ‘out there’ and so were not ‘taken’ but, as both the record and the product of the camera’s way of seeing, were instead created by the act of photographing them. Accordingly, I submit that these (and other) photographs are the result of an active (an act of) collaboration with the medium of photography.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who agreed to undergo the ordeal of posing for me. They did all the work; I just pushed the button.
This series was then extended by holding a (waterproof) camera below the surface and pointed upwards towards figures above or beyond the surface. In some cases, the underside of the surface acted as a mirror, incorporating and/or distorting elements within the frame. These factors – together with the delay in the recording of the image common to digital cameras – made it impossible to intentionally select or arrange the elements within the frame, how the medium will depict them, or ‘choose’ the moment at which the photograph was made. Accordingly, even more than in the previous series, these images provide a ‘photographically objective’ record of scenes, events and ‘moments’ that did not exist until they were created by the act of photographing them.