FICTION FOLLOWS FORM

2017

Archival Pigment Prints
Various sizes ranging from 16 x 16" to 30 x 30"

Edition of 1 + 1 AP signed, numbered & titled verso

Photography is both an investigation and a means of investigation.  In my work, I place emphasis on creating transformative relationships, between the ‘old’ image past and the ‘new’ image present. 

In Fiction Follows Form I turn snapshots inside out, re-exposing them, splitting them like atoms.  Through folding, scratching, painting and wax-dipping, my hands become the camera.  The methods I adopted, the way I handled and treated snapshots and memories, the practice of practice – each is as important as the content and the form.

It is also a form of imaginative reminiscence because where past and present ‘meet’ now is only in my imagination, realized on paper.  And, it is where I meet the viewer.  The images activate or reactivate something subjective and intangible within the viewer.  A memory, a feeling, a sense of recognition – through content, subject, color, shape, light or some other visual cue.  One can then categorize it, worship it, ignore it or erase it.

Fiction Follows Form reveals that memory recollection and snapshots are more than processes or objects that record, duplicate or fix what happens in 'reality'.  Rather, they are dynamic, creative understanding.  When I engage in mental time travel and recollection recovery, and when I refer to snapshots for creative insight, I move through space, I touch them.  Reworked, the images return to us in new form.  They touch us differently.

Rather than snapshots that encase the space of the space, as reworked images, they provide their own space.

 

UNENDINGS

2017

Unique unfixed lumen prints on Ilford FB Classic Matt paper with hand-cut Kodak negatives (exposed)
11 x 14"

Over the course of a year I took hundreds of photographs in various places related to memories of intimate relationships.  This re-visitation was a meaningful ritual.  I recalled forgotten events.  I recalled sounds, scents and feelings experienced ‘then’, within the frame of ‘now’.  They seemed more potent and yet more unsteady.

Upon studying the negatives with fresh eyes, they were not the records of place I anticipated.  Instead they reflected the sensory cues that ‘took me back’.  What I photographed was not as important as the feeling I got from ‘seeing’ with my mind’s eye, and then using the camera to try to hold it.

Upon studying the negatives with fresh eyes, they were not the records of place I anticipated.  Instead they reflected the sensory cues that ‘took me back’.  What I photographed was not as important as the feeling I got from ‘seeing’ with my mind’s eye, and then using the camera to try to hold it.

I began hand-cutting the negatives of these ‘re-visitation’ photographs.  It was a bittersweet experience.  This is because of what I recalled as I walked and pressed the shutter button, which gave the negatives a special past/present ‘charge’.  But, after cutting the negatives into triangles, I had no idea how to proceed.

After several failed attempts, I began placing them onto unexposed silver gelatin paper.  I achieved resolution in moving around the triangles like pieces from a tangram puzzle.  I began sticking the negatives into formations that replicate the placing of snapshots into family albums.  I used my own and others' albums as a guide.  I then inserted each sheet into a contact frame, layered a selection of family snapshots on top of the glass, and left them to ‘develop’ in the studio.

Over time, the paper turned various shades of yellow, pink, blue, mauve, grey and silver.  The colors depended on the quantity of light and how long the snapshots remained in place.  Once removed, ‘developing’ continued owing to the paper being unfixed.  The viewer never ‘sees’ the imprints from the negatives.  Their content is visible yet unavailable.

Their positioning divides the print into smaller sections.  This point to absence, since the triangles do not ‘hold’ anything tangible.  The hazy edges of the colored forms seep and blend into one another.  This signifies the album as a container that we rework and revise.  Snapshots are inserted, removed, lost, replaced.  Loss is also implicated through the cutting of original negatives.  An irreversible gesture that reworks the subject matter they hold. 

Each work that comprises Unendings self-makes in the present while also making present the intangible spaces of the past.  The glowing squares and rectangles reveal the memory and trace of the photographic forms that inspired their existence.  The snapshots are absent; their shadow is the presence.  They are now forms of the reworking that has informed my studio processes.  They contextualize my own experience within a wider understanding of how we encounter self-defining memories and snapshots.

 

EXCAVATIONS

2015

Archival Pigment Prints (hand sanded with professional grade sandpaper) on Canson Infinity Rag
Print 14.5 x 14.3" on paper 18.5 x 18.3"

Edition of 1 + 1 AP signed, numbered & titled verso

Original personal snapshots (hand sanded with professional grade sandpaper)
Various sizes ranging from approx. 2.3" to approx. 4x6"

'Excavations' explores the invisible social space of family storytelling through photography. I make c-prints of family pictures from expired Kodak film, as well as using original snapshots from the album, then carefully hand-sand them with various types of sandpaper. I aim to loosen the complexities of material encounter with intangible concepts. Mine is also a literal assault. I cross into taboo territory, the transgression and squeamish horror of destroying original personal possessions.

 

DEVELOP BEFORE

2014-2015

Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth
Print 20 x 20" on paper 24 x 24"

Edition of 3 + 1 AP (AP NFS) signed, numbered & titled verso

One of my grandpa's most curious collections was of Kodak 126 film boxes. On the outside of each box, where Kodak had printed 'Develop Before' together with the film’s expiry date (a practice that dates from the end of the 19th century) grandpa had circled the date in red pen, as if to ensure that the snapshots he took would be revealed at their very best and 'freshest'.

There is homogeneity to how we make snapshots the world over. Grandpa's boxes have their own unique marks of age – wrinkles, scars, and bruises – things we tend to avoid in family photography. They were also never intended to be subjects of photography: boxes are simply trash – nothing of value, though to grandpa, worth something. I was compelled to photograph them using a modified Kodak Instamatic, expired photography chemicals and a scanner.

 

THRICE UPON A TIME

2012

Archival Pigment Print from damaged negative
Medium: 27.3 x 36" on paper 31.3 x 40"
Large: 42.5 x 56" on paper 44 x 57.5"

Edition of 3 + 1 AP (AP NFS) signed, numbered & titled verso

I grew up on a dairy farm in South Australia. Falling milk prices and rising maintenance costs forced my parents, under the threat of bankruptcy, to sell everything and leave in 1989.

Twenty-two years later, Mum and Dad performed a collaborative 'homecoming' on my behalf. Every month for one year, they revisited our former farm, wearing on the soles of their shoes a set of negatives I had made at the farm in 2005, when I took photographs of places where they had made snapshots of me as a child. As my parents walked the farm, the negatives became abraded and imprinted with local dirt and debris. The negatives were then returned to me, some so damaged they had to be pieced together with tweezers.

This series is a movement of reclamation and transcription. Since we no longer work the land with our hands, I work it through the lens, and tread, of my parents. The dominant motive for this work is my longing for an idealized vision of home. The resulting images mythologize my holy land, an inheritance I ache for.

 

SELF DIAGNOSIS

2011

Archival Pigment Print on Canson Infinity Rag
Print: 6.5 x 9.3" on paper size 8.5 x 11"

Edition of 3 + 1 AP (AP NFS) signed, numbered & titled verso

'Self Diagnosis' is a part-photographic part-psychological study. I expose personal snapshots on the back of each of the ten inkblots from the Rorschach inkblot test, to investigate the consequences of opening myself up to visual interpretation; the exposure of items typically harbored or guarded; and the construction of truth versus fiction in the family album.

 

PHOTOS OF ME WITHOUT ME

2011

Unique personal snapshots hand cut and mounted onto Hahnemuhle Photo Rag
Paper size 17 x 22”

In this series of unique prints I reenact the family album through the deliberate DIY act of scissoring myself from personal snapshots and then realigning the hand-cut splinters. The works are more than altered souvenirs of my childhood; they are gestural, spatial re-recordings. There is preciousness to my existing in the album, which I call into question. This exercise of elimination, re-appropriation, and change gives me the chance to re-determine and redesign how my past is displayed from hereon.

 

ATTENTIONAL LANDSCAPES

2007-2008

Archival Digital C-Print
Medium print: 35.6 x 35.6"
Large print: 48 x 48"

Edition of 3 + 1 AP (AP NFS) signed, numbered & titled verso

The Ishihara Colour Test is the most common clinical test for color blindness. But like mirages, the circles of randomized dots are just optical phenomena. In this series I undertake quasi-scientific experiments in manipulating the intended meaning and function of family photographs. Selectively and meticulously exposing personal snapshots through the Ishihara test plates, I explore how humans search and process imagery.

 

CRASH MARKERS

2005-2008

C-Print
Medium print: 35.6 x 48"
Large print: 48 x 64.8"

Edition of 3 + 1 AP (AP NFS) signed, numbered & titled verso

Crash marker programs in Australia aim to raise awareness of road safety by identifying where fatal and serious injury crashes have occurred. Wooden markers are fixed into the ground, and painted black or red with a symbolic reflector. In this series I investigate human inability to forget emotionally traumatic events. I reinterpret the torrent of random snapshots that pile into mind during a car accident by creating multi-layered 'memory-scapes' at different crash sites.