The Seams are Showing

December 8, 2007

So it has been a while…not that I haven’t been working, but Life, as it always does, gets in the way.

Anyway.  I’m reaching the image-quantity point where now a 40×50 foot gallery space is starting to feel small.  (Editing is not my strong suit.)  And the stuff in this post is about a year old, pictures taken at the Army’s Fake Iraq at Fort Irwin, but it seems increasingly crucial to the whole shebang.

Part of this has to do with a new LACMA photo-theory series and website I came across.  One of the implications of the first essay on the site is that contemporary photography goes hand-in-hand with a kind seamless representation of a complete whole, whether that whole is a document of a given reality or a carefully-managed fantasy.  But my two cents on this is that given the degree to which a photograph is simply accepted as the material base for the recording of prior content, the most important thing to do right now is to show where this “whole” falls apart–to show the seams. 

I think (I hope) the “men in uniform” shots further down do this, and that’s also the intention behind this work.  Because in the case of Fort Irwin, at least, the whole enterprise seems to depend less on actual realism than on a kind of willful collective hallucination to make the place useful/real.

And I just found out I get access to the Marine base at 29 Palms so there’ll be more of this soon, if I can medically and financially get myself out there to shoot for a day.   

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