Since 20th century photography had reached its pinnacle with Edward Weston’s monumental images of mundane objects (think green pepper), the photograph had not progressed beyond subject matter. Knowing that painting had long ago left subject matter and had begun to address instead paint itself, picture plane, color and perspective – that is, it “talked about” painting - I began exploring how that approach might pertain to photography. In these images, I tried to make photography itself – not the objects in front of the lens - the subject. The operative word here is “tried” as these are very exploratory works; some succeed more than others.
What is it about photography that I explored here? The way it represents - or translates - a 3 dimensional space onto a 2 dimensional surface; the idea that we believe it is telling the truth; our trust that a photograph accurately shows us reality: “Do you really think you are seeing a brick wall, grass, an apple and a leaf in this photograph? Think again.”
During this period of experimenting with illusions that were inherently photographic, I also began to paint black and white photographic prints. Thinking that one day I might be called upon to explain my use of paint with photography, I made the Paint Can image to elucidate that relationship. Years later I would again bring painting to photography in a collection of photographs: Painted Indians – A Collaboration.
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