The Whites (2009)
Etymologically, photography means writing or drawing with light, and as such it is a mad-scientific endeavor. Light as a physical phenomenon both reveals our surroundings and obscures our sight, and analogue photographic processes clearly reflect this dichotomy. In the irony that is exposure, light darkens film. Too much or too little of it will either obliterate or fail to register the image. Predictable and detailed results are borne from a calculated engagement with this immaterial ingredient: measured parts avoidance, allowance and alteration. The Whites is a survey of this equation.
Beyond their physical surfaces and reflective qualities, many of the objects represented in these photographs are material things in the process of disappearing: a bar of soap, an observatory now unused, a boarded law office, two ornamental horses rusting away in the forest. Similarly, silver-based black and white photography is approaching a predetermined obsolescence. The photographs in this series were made using this rarefied form of production: sheet film exposed through a camera manufactured half a century ago, then hand processed, printed on traditional fiber-based paper and toned in selenium. In a twist on the great modernist dictum of function following form, here subject informs technique. The Whites is my reckoning with the retrospective nature of all photographs. It is only through these fixed moments that we are allowed to see that which no longer exists.