These two pictures are part of a series called Still Life. What is the common thread linking these photographs?
The series began as a reaction to another series of work I was making at the time, Refraction
. The Refraction
series is made with a camera that I reconstructed, using a magnifying sheet as the lens. Still Life
was a way for me to reveal the process of how I initially arrived at the idea for the camera. I had been conducting experiments with lenses, prisms, mirrors and other optical devices. The work ended up being a documentation of me playing in my backyard, creating illusions of space and inserting my presence into the frame, sometimes subtly, sometimes obviously. In these series and in your latest work, you make use of mirrors, reflection and diffraction, duplicating the frame and creating confusion in the two-dimensional space of the photograph. Can you tell us more specifically about the picture selected here?
I was using mirrors as a way to manipulate the space so that it wasn't completely clear what was happening, or how they were being used. In all of my work, I experiment with perception and try to show the world in a way only possible with the camera. In this image, the mirror becomes camouflaged with the grass surrounding it. I cropped the image and made everything very sharp so that there were no clues that would immediately let the viewer know what was happening. Then I used a prism to create a rainbow stripe outside of the frame so that it would be reflected in the mirror, alluding to the space beyond. The bananas picture looks very much like a typical “product shot”: a well-lit image, revealing every minute detail of the object, except that what is shown here is not the object’s perfection, but its life at work.
With all of this work, I wanted to reference product images-I used 4x5 slide film in order to make them very saturated and sharp. I wanted it to be the opposite of the Refraction
series, which was difficult to control and blurry. The bananas picture, particularly, happened by chance. I was running around my apartment trying to find fruit and vegetables to photograph and pulled out some old bananas from the freezer. They were out in the sun as I worked on other images, and when I looked at them again they had this beautiful white frost all over them. The ambiguity of what had happened to them and the way I photographed them make the bananas sort of grotesque and desirable at the same time.
Limited edition, numbered and signed.