My MFA Show, Desolation's Comfort: Photographic Recollections opened at the John F. Kennedy University Arts & Consciousness Gallery on October 1, 2007. It's been a year. Creating big shows is like giving blood. It takes awhile for the body (in this case, soul) to replenish itself. It was hard for me to look at the images from that show for quite some time. This week, I took the dust off the metaphorical storage box and started working on my Desolation's Comfort images yet again. It was finally time to revisit the work and add new images to the collection.
Desolation's Comfort is a body of work inspired by the Dada movement and the Surrealists. Dora Maar was a particularly important influence to me. The images from the show consisted of old snapshots re-contextualized into new surroundings. Mostly, I was adding the snapshot images into lonely landscapes where I found spirit, solace, and solitude.
In thinking of the show, I've always felt that Version 2 would be different. As I've written in this blog, I've felt a need to explore the nature of decay. All physical forms crumble and, in their decay, there is a nobility that photography is particularly effective at depicting. The gentle return to the earth is inevitable and beautiful.
Snapshots and their subjects also dissolve into nothingness. I find that the frozen moment of the snapshot to be its most poignant feature. After the click of the shutter everything resumes the process of relentless change. Atoms continue to swirl, people evolve, age, and then die. The snapshot is an eery artifact of a still moment that never really existed. It froze something not meant to be frozen.
So, the snapshot is almost always haunting. How I might express that in an unexpected way has long been an important goal to me. The work always seemed destined to travel to the darker side—into the shadow of consciousness. I find an impish delight in taking the work down further and deeper into the abyss.
Today, in Version 2, the work has moved from the world of desolate land to a world of crumbling structure. One never knows exactly where the mysteries of creativity will take us, but I suspect that there is to be industrial aesthetic to this new body of work. I am interested in the ruins of modern society and their lonely abandonment by a post-modern world that is more virtual than real.
Today, I present #26 from the series, Desolation's Comfort. Your comments are encouraged and always welcome!