April 14, 2008
In this photolithography project, I continued to explore how decontextualization multiplies the possibilities for ascribing meaning from the viewer’s perspective. I took family photos—intensely personal images from my own life experience—and released the figures from their backgrounds, as well decolorizing them and ridding the images of any identifying facial features.
After printing, I separated pieces of the images onto separate panels, in addition to creating blank panels to further encourage the viewer’s own appropriation of the work’s meaning. The mounted works reference daguerreotypes, or similar historical photographic formats, and are sized at an intimate scale to encourage viewer interaction.
I created the panels to fit snugly inside a found object—a small box like the kind a child might use to save meaningful trinkets. Ideally, the box would be closed when the viewer first encounters the work, where they would be able to see their own reflection in a mirror I mounted to the top of the container. The idea would be for the viewer to then open the box, wander through the collection of decontextualized images (and non-images) of family life, and be lead to project their own emotions and experiences onto the work via the imagery’s lack of personifying detail.