I’m always interested in alternative photography lenses for digital camera bodies. My zone plate lens is of particular interest since it creates a flare around the object being photographed. Make Some Friends grew out of an idea to use Victorian flatware to make stick figures. I construct the figures using found flatware from various sources. In the nineteenth century there were many fashionable foods and a special utensil for each one. A tiny ladle for the perfect dollop of mustard or a miniature lettuce fork are not widely used today. It was not polite to touch food with fingers so special spoons would be provided for a dessert bonbon or mint as well. A variety of tongs was required for foods such as asparagus, sugar cubes and petit-four pastry.
Due to 2020/2021 global pandemic it has been difficult to see friends in real time. These portraits of small figures made of flatware components from another era glow due to refracted light from thousands of little scratches in the metal. They are somewhat otherworldly due to halos created by the zone plate lens. My new friends are engaging in their robotic form and strangely comforting to construct. This work speaks to a world where we are all becoming more familiar with small robots and less human contact. Some robots today are creations that mimic life and are helpful as companions. Using old world components to create twentieth century friends brings old objects to new life in a friendly form glowing up at me.
Seasonal began as a series of meditations on beauty and fear. “Beauty is the mystery of life” is a famous quote by Agnes Martin that inspired me to make digital images combining the most banal and commonplace subjects of flowers and snowflakes. All physical matter has a mysterious shelf life, some long, others short. Everything vanishes at some point like snow and flowers often are part of a passing of life.
Instead of arranging flowers in a vase, I take them apart and use the components to make snowflake designs. There is a reversal of spring to winter by use of these materials and concept. I’ve always been intrigued with snowflakes. Each one is a unique crystalline form, vanishes by melting and presents as pure white. Flowers also enchant me with their formal structures, short lives and amazing assortment of colors. White is the combination of all colors while black is the absence of color. By using my scanner as a camera I capture extraordinary detail and rich color that leaps out in contrast to the black background. Making these works is labor intensive and profoundly meditative. I try to make pictures that capture the spirit of both subjects, embracing elements of design and intention. The final images are a celebration of brief lives incorporating complete beauty.
I’ve been making photographs since my childhood having grown up in a home with a darkroom. The slow roll of the scanner revealing an image composed on the glass is reminiscent of how an image would appear to float to the surface in a developing tray. In later years when the family darkroom vanished in a flood holding decades of memory and experiences well as physical equipment I feared I would never have another way to slow process in a fast digital world. Fear and beauty come in many guises both inevitable in anyone’s life.
My digital work in this posthumous collaboration with my father’s analogue work reflects my relationship to him by constructing imaginary worlds. I traveled a bit with him and inherited his 35 mm slide archive when he passed. He was a darkroom techniques guy whereas I am a point and shoot girl. I loved traveling with him and was happy to take the boxes of his work. Scanning reveals a not so technical person as much is out of focus. This delights me and becomes a meld of painterly approach with collage in Photoshop to create Travelogue. I think Dad would be pleased by this as he referred to my work as taking something and transforming it into another thing. Unsettling points of view become visible by using architecture or landscape in a destabilizing way. Reinterpreting a real world as a dreamscape fits my interest in an alternate reality, similar but different which allows uncertainty and experimentation with elements of design.