This work speaks to subject matter that is at the center of my visual aesthetic and has been so for a number of years. I derived the original conceptual context from the United States’ involvement in Iraq and subsequent military and civilian actions and atrocities for this landscape of conflict. The environment in Iraq speaks to timeless issues of conflict and other elements of the human condition.
Conflict and crisis resound. As history has shown, major conflicts between peoples are found to erupt between constructs of similar belief systems for example, between people of the same faith or religious affiliation. (Christian Protestants versus Catholics and Islamic Sunnis versus Shiites) Applying the term, “Fog of War” to describe a facet of this work means not to suggest the confusion that happens during engagement in battle, but more literarily, the atmospheric conditions that emerge during the emotion, rage and anxiety of conflict. The atmospheric qualities in these photographs hope to suggest these conditions.
I have selected these pieces to be the most representative and successful of my foray into the use of black and white pinhole photographs. The environment in which I shot these tableaus is controlled and manipulated with the intent to achieve dramatic visual effects by limiting the amount of extraneous visual information. I use pairs of figures in conflict represented as anthropomorphically suggestive figures made of sculpture materials and placed in a Spartan and barren environment. These spaces are non-specific and refer to generic archetypical spaces that suggest fraught interiors or apocalyptic environs. The scarcity of the space is in part due to the adage, “less is more”, in this case the fewer the elements the less cluttered the idea and hopefully they have a more complete catharsis with the viewer.
The distortions achieved in the photographs are due to the photographic technique, the use of one quart paint cans. The space is exaggerated by the cylindrical container that holds the paper negative and then by which the by product is captured. The distortion created by this technique supports the context for the work. The use of dramatic and multiple lighting sources and limiting the palette to black and white both assist in creating the visual elements that support effects that suggest the atmospheric conditions of this metaphorically timeless space.