The Photograph as Surface: Reflections on Planes
1995 - ongoing
The photograph is a 2D description of a world we know only through binocular vision. Treating linear distance as a series of layers (in much the same way as we experience Time as a series of moments), the camera reveals the patterns hidden within (or behind) our 3-dimensional world.
General Semantics teaches us that the way in which we express ourselves is a reflection of how we perceive the world. I see the world through the ‘eyes’ of my language (or, if you prefer, through the ‘language’ of my eyes) -- and in giving me the mental symbols to represent them, this ‘language’ gives me too, the means to experience both depth and distance. (See Korzybski)
By treating the linear distance we experience as three dimensions as an infinite succession of 2-dimensional planes and then, by extracting discrete ‘slices’ from what we experience as a chronological continuum, the results of this project have shown that the camera, ‘sees’ and records – and in doing so, sometimes creates – relationships between planes and ‘moments’ not always visible to, or anticipatable by, a bino-chrono consciousness like ours.
These images are an accurate and objective record and a natural and truthful account – but one which depicts ‘how things really were’ to the camera, not to us. Simultaneously both the record and the product of a very different ‘way of knowing’, the scenes and ‘moments’ thus depicted did not – and sometimes could not – exist for us ‘out there’, but were made visible only by (what I have called) an act of photography.
Through this and the subsequent series Buspaintings and Submarines, I have used the camera as a way to explore the world otherwise inaccessible to me through the perceptual filters imposed by my bino-chrono ‘way of knowing’. In these photographs, I have attempted to explore the camera’s ‘maps’ of the world by offering it scenes and materials (such as juxtaposed planes and reflections distorted in – and by – the topography of 3-dimensional surfaces) whose beauty is apparent even to a poor ‘bino’* like me.
*Term of derision used by Monocular lifeforms to describe all vertebrates -- and Man in particular.
As always in my work, the medium of photography and its modus operandi are welcomed as active and equal collaborators in making (rather than ‘taking’) photographs.