UPDATES from Capetown, South Africa
Each image in this series gives homage to the influences on how I see photographs and photography. The eight American photographers/artists represented (Diane Arbus, Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Walker Evans, Sherrie Levine, Edward Curtis, Eadward Muybridge, Jeff Wall and Robbert Mapplethorpe) were all chosen because of their impact on the medium of photography and their stimulus to my personal growth and interest in photography. Through research of each photographer’s style and process, I took the liberty to “update” these masters with a playful, but critical agenda.
I left the United States in 2006 with no specific goal in terms of the pictures I would take. To my surprise, when I came to South Africa I started to take pictures in the vein of these American photographers. These images became a vehicle for me to understand being an outside viewer and cultural implications of viewing through the camera.
Through intentionally utilizing elements of the processes employed by each artist, I hope to engage the audience with a culturally iconographic image that aims to destabilize and question how we see the iconic photograph in an art context. I am using this subversion to comment on the scope of the medium of photography in art in the last 100 years; thus challenging landscape and documentary photography, portraiture and post-modern devices. In my research I found that though these photographers have been highly influential to me, the problematic way in which they obtained images troubles me. Recontextualizing these iconic images in a South African setting reaches a level of absurdity that questions the steps taken to get these images. By utilizing medium and large format negatives, studio lighting, and digital tools I have created 9 images that critically illuminate and challenge the viewer to take another look at how we approach the picture making process.