“The Camera Is An Instrument That Teaches People How To See Without A Camera.”
– Dorothea Lange
The traditional film camera has all but disappeared from the contemporary landscape. It sits as an analog relic from a bygone era, but also serves as a critical historic object, as an evolutionary pivot, which ushered us into our current image-obsessed world. By casting vintage cameras in glass, I am highlighting the technology’s lost physicality, the invisible “magic” of the photographic process and the camera’s role in translating our visual perception of the world.
My work offers meditations on the complexities within the concept of photography and the repercussions of the camera’s impact on culture. In many ways, the camera is the physical realization of the mystical “all-seeing eye.” It is ever-present and ever watching. Looking at the world today, photography’s tremendous power is like that of an Arthurian legend. What we have created is an ever-progressing technology that imbues one to shape humanity.
The incredibly creative and destructive nature of photography is both inspiring and alarming to me. It has helped bring our global society closer together but also driven us desperately apart. It can teach us or deceive us, show us the furthest reaches of space or the closest representations of matter itself. It is these contrasting realities that exist within photography, which inspire my works of contemporary art.
When quite young, I regularly walked into walls. I spilled the milk at every family dinner. It turned out I had an amblyopia or Lazy eye, a severe eye condition which affects the relationship that the eyes have with the brain. Because one eye looked inward while the other look straight ahead, both eyes were not able to simultaneously look at the same thing at the correct angle, causing constant blurry double vision. You could say I had a problem with perspective.
The lazy eye affected my binocular vision leading to a lack of depth perception and peripheral vision. My Ophthalmologist, John A. Thomas explained that binocular vision is one of the most complicated functions that our brains undergo. Almost half of the human brain is devoted directly or indirectly to vision, far more than any animal of any kind, and a huge amount of that function goes to powering our binocularity.
Through a life-long process of having my vision corrected, I gained unusual insight into the complex nature of visual disorders and began to recognize the ultimate governing power that our eyes have over all our other senses. The transformational process from first experiencing the world as a flat plane, to eventually learning how to see in three dimensions gave me a new appreciation for the visual process. The crossing of borders, from one dimension to another continues to drive the ideas behind my work, and constantly affects the unique way I perceive the world.
Rather than fighting these visual challenges, they found their way into my studio practice, which began to investigate and eventually emulate the irregularities that occur when I see. Through the process of making sculpture, I began to further understand and accept the imperfect process of visualization as a strength rather than a disability. Consequently, preconceived notions about normalcy, disability or function are reconsidered, and the definitions of what is broken or what is working are broadened.