Once light exposes on emulsion the image is captured, taken from its never-ending narrative and is now subjected to a different context. Like Walter Benjamin’s theory of the authenticity and optical unconscious, the captured light of a place can be taken and put anywhere, from the cathedral to the exhibition. The authenticity of an image is altered in photography by the means of reproduction, and has become even more questionable in a digital era. When Jeff Wall started his Street series, he set out to reproduce the everyday “real” only to critique on what is real in photography. The empirical value of a photograph has become an artifact to the new perception of photography. Today we see an image and we analyze its significance, placing meaning into symbolic, indexical, and iconic terms in order to understand what the image is saying to us.
In Literally, I set out to altered what the eye sees when I am exploring different genres in art photography. From the landscape to the portrait, reduced to blurred images furthering the gap from the real to the representational. By using an iconic representations the blurred images provoke an understanding of what the image could be, leading to an endless scheme of possibilities. The authenticity is hidden behind a thick layer of shallowness. This practice is what the photographer does, taking light and alternating it by use of the optical unconscious and the mechanism of the camera. The narrative is born from taking the light outside of its origins. The blurred image can be a few things and never just one. There’s something hidden behind a screen of unadjusted optics, like seen in The Hidden Nature series by Virginia Mak, creating a mystery of blurred features and hallways. By using text I format the subjectivity of the images, identifying what something is freely since the context is further altered from the original. Like John Hilliard, the use of text serves as a tool for narrative, where the image lacks in clarity makes up with text thus making the text more important that the actual image. Text holds the power to change one single image into several possibilities like Hilliard’s Cause of Death photograph, where he chopped one single image four times and used different text to narrate each one. By adding different objectives to the text for each photograph like, ‘insert imagination’, to a narrative photograph separate one photographic genre to another by saying, ‘insert an environmental statement’, for a landscape photograph.
The process of the aesthetics will be completely analog, using darkroom techniques such as dodging using vinyl letters over plexiglass. The images will be originally sharp but pulled from focus from the original detail of the negatives. The series will project a look that now appears as "Photoshoped", but are works of labor to preserve the indexical quality of the image.
This series is currently in progress, moving from darkroom to installation-based text work where the text is interacting with the environment it is describing, graffiti-like. Further reference: Lisa Hecht.