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artist's statement


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These are pictures of the stuff of everyday life. The things that we don't usually see. Or, rather, we see them but we don't pay attention to them. It is my conviction that pondering these artifacts reveals more about us than looking at our family portraits, or reading our letters to the editor, or most anything else I can think of. One reason we don't notice these things is because our attention is steered to the perfectly coiffed model, the immaculately landscaped garden, the shiny new car, and all the other prefab fantasies of the commercial world. Sometimes it can seem like we actually live in that world instead of this one.
The presentation of these photographs echoes the real world too, where we are bombarded with visual stimulus. Much has been said about the number of commercial images that we are confronted with in this culture, and part of my intent is to turn up the volume on the other things.

That's the official interpretation of what's going on here. It's not dishonest, I promise, and it explains the content of the imagery well enough. But in this case the theory came after the fact. The truth is that I am never happier than when I'm looking and shooting, or looking at what I've shot. And though it sounds a bit weird to admit it, I'm thrilled by the existence of all the stuff in these images. Each exposure represents an infatuation with a visual moment, and after persistent frustration with the process and habits developed during two decades of involvement with photography, I realized that I didn't want to fight those infatuations any longer.

So I decided to reverse the old instincts entirely. Instead of carefully shooting, selecting and presenting a dozen or so images in support of a predetermined idea, I resolved to shoot and edit in a more spontaneous and intuitive way, to be more true to my enthusiasms. So while the idea of these scenes as artifacts was there, it was not driving the process, but instead guiding my eye in a subconscious way.

With the old process, I feared that the enthusiasm for the images had been distilled out of them by the overriding concept, making it difficult for the audience to connect with the work. With this work the risk is that the imagery is too personal and idiosyncratic. But I accept that risk gladly, because I found it very rewarding to give in to my infatuations, and I feel the results are much more alive.

more about the photographs

The Artifacts series evolved from a pair of self-published booklets of inkjet prints that I created after owning my first digital camera in 1999. The booklets grew out of my enthusiasm for the advantages of shooting and printing digitally. Encouragement from Esther Luttikhuizen, of Esther Claypool gallery in Seattle, led me to develop the series further and create sixteen inkjet prints, which I showed at the gallery in June of 2001.

The reaction to the Seattle show was delightfully enthusiastic and very gratifying. So when I learned that Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon was going to show the series, I decided to create three additional prints with new images taken since the first show, some from my trips to the Portland area. One of the things people enjoyed about the Seattle show was recognizing the occasional"artifact" that they had passed by many times in their own daily life.

I had always intended to create a website for this work, and a grant from the King County Arts Commission in 2002 made it a lot easier to set aside time to do just that. And here it is.

Aside from Portland, imagery in Artifacts was photographed primarily in the Seattle area, but also on various trips to eastern Washington, southwestern Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana.

The prints are printed on archival inkjet paper using an Epson 2000P archival pigment ink printer.

Pieces from this series are in the collections of Swedish Hospital, Seattle, and the Amgen Corporation's Seattle offices, in addition to various individuals. A series of 5 prints based on the same image set, in editions totalling 96 prints, was created for Children's Hospital in Seattle, with one print in each patient room of the new and newly remodeled wings.

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