Jump Start

I’ll be honest, I’ve been out of the game for a little. It’s the same old story: life. Things get complicated, difficult, inconvenient, expensive… you name it. Being in the middle of staging and selling a house has certainly not helped, but it is officially time to dig back in. As a starting point, I thought it would be great so support another artist in their endeavor. Laura Petrovich-Cheney is an artist/teacher in NJ and has the opportunity to go on an incredible residency to the Arctic Circle. In order to fund the trip she started a Kickstarter project, and I recently jumped on board with a little financial support.

I’m excited for her (not to mention completely jealous) and I can’t wait to see what she makes as a result of the experience. Something like that can only make you grow.

But, back to me. I guess the place to start is with what I’ve been thinking about recently. In a previous post I quoted an author that talked about photographies natural leaning towards the “now” and physicality/reality. But as I’ve been thinking about how I’m trying to communicate our current digital world via photography, there is a paradox present. The “now” exists in the digital, entirely unphysical reality of our making.

So my challenge is to make photographs that are not based in the physical, which is really messing with my mind since, in order to have a photograph of anything, something had to exist first. Yes, Paradox.

The imagery is going to be difficult, but one technique I’ve been thinking could really apply well is what’s called screen burning. Well, it’s not a technique as much as something that happens if you leave a high contrast image on a screen for too long. There is a ghost image burned into the screen permanently. I think that could have some really interesting effect and has some potentially meaningful implications when paired with images of how we represent ourselves. The reflection of us literally becomes a static, permanent part of the machine. If anyone has a spare tv/computer screen hanging around, let me know.

Found Identity

One part of my thesis brings up a digital world problem of other people having more control over your identity than you. Think about it, each image that is uploaded with you in it tells a story about your identity, but it doesn’t have to be you that posted them. Friends or complete strangers that have snapped a shot of you can post and comment without your knowledge, and whatever that image says about you becomes a part of your digital identity. Since people tend to trust a third party’s description instead of someone describing themselves, these extraneous bits of identity are often taken as more legitimate than anything you could post yourself. This also means that interaction in the social media sphere is practically mandated if you want any say about your own identity. Each of us is in an uphill battle, fighting for control of our virtual selves, but its a battle that can only be perpetually fought, never won and often lost.
After thinking about this I decided to attempt to track down every image on Facebook that has me in it that I did not post. So far I have gathered 175 of these “found images”, and now I am taking those and reconstructing self portraits from groups of them. I don’t think its possible to retake my virtual identity, but at the very least I want to know how I am presented.

Found Image Self-Portrait