In 2006 I made a sock monkey. The Baby, as he became known, was a gift to celebrate the birth of a friend’s son, and it stealthily began to reshape my photographic practice. Using the anthropological sense of the word, he became a fetish, an object endowed with a cultic value, his image as rhetoric, present to inform, persuade and motivate the spectator to interpret the image they are viewing.    

The Baby allows me to replicate, parody and pay homage to my photograpic forebears in various contemporary photography tropes about landscape, architectural, narrative, still life and contemporary color photography. Appropriating images from everyday life, the photographs became neo-pop, bluring the boundaries between high and low art forms, reevaluating the role of photography as a commodity in and of itself. They are multivalent, inspired by the example of Jasper Johns playing with contradiction and paradox, irony and allegory; stating one thing only to imply another. They collide different levels of meaning with different signs. The conundrum is that a photograph of The Baby is not a photograph of a sock monkey at all; I’m not photographing things,but rather photographing signs of things.

I am influenced by the narrative of American culture and the work of photographers Robert Adams, Stephen Shore, Julias Schulman and Robert Eggelston. My use of identifiable imagery (The Baby, drawn from the incongraphy of American culture, and Jenna Jameson, the adult film performer from pornographic culture) tie-in with the direction of modernism.

The photographs cannot be distinguished from their referents - those which they represent, they simply are what they are. When one views these images, it is not the actual photo that one sees, the photograph itself is rendered invisible, making the photograph unclassifiable. It resists language, it simply is. The photographs telegraph another meaning, the suggestion that the image's reality, aside from all the messages it can be loaded with, might constitute an avant-garde value; not a message as such, aimed at the spectator, but another kind of meaning that arises almost accidentally yet without being simply the material or the accidental.

Roland Barthes, the French philosopher, in his book Mythologies, refers to two concepts that identify the meaning in a photographic image. The first is the stadium, which he defines as the cultural linguistic and political interpretation of a photograph. The second is the punctum, which is the wounding, personally touching detail which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it. In observing people view the work, the punctum is The Baby, he engages them, draws them in, and always gets a laugh or smile before they move to the stadium to see what is really going on.

 

 

 

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ARTIST STATEMENT THE BABY

 

In 2006 I made a sock monkey. The Baby, as he became known, was a gift to celebrate the birth of a friend’s son, and it stealthily began to reshape my photographic practice. Using the anthropological sense of the word, he became a fetish, an object endowed with a cultic value, his image as rhetoric, present to inform, persuade and motivate the spectator to interpret the image they are viewing.    

The Baby allows me to replicate, parody and pay homage to my photograpic forebears in various contemporary photography tropes about landscape, architectural, narrative, still life and contemporary color photography. Appropriating images from everyday life, the photographs became neo-pop, bluring the boundaries between high and low art forms, reevaluating the role of photography as a commodity in and of itself. They are multivalent, inspired by the example of Jasper Johns playing with contradiction and paradox, irony and allegory; stating one thing only to imply another. They collide different levels of meaning with different signs. The conundrum is that a photograph of The Baby is not a photograph of a sock monkey at all; I’m not photographing things,but rather photographing signs of things.

I am influenced by the narrative of American culture and the work of photographers Robert Adams, Stephen Shore, Julias Schulman and Robert Eggelston. My use of identifiable imagery (The Baby, drawn from the incongraphy of American culture, and Jenna Jameson, the adult film performer from pornographic culture) tie-in with the direction of modernism.

The photographs cannot be distinguished from their referents - those which they represent, they simply are what they are. When one views these images, it is not the actual photo that one sees, the photograph itself is rendered invisible, making the photograph unclassifiable. It resists language, it simply is. The photographs telegraph another meaning, the suggestion that the image's reality, aside from all the messages it can be loaded with, might constitute an avant-garde value; not a message as such, aimed at the spectator, but another kind of meaning that arises almost accidentally yet without being simply the material or the accidental.

Roland Barthes, the French philosopher, in his book Mythologies, refers to two concepts that identify the meaning in a photographic image. The first is the stadium, which he defines as the cultural linguistic and political interpretation of a photograph. The second is the punctum, which is the wounding, personally touching detail which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it. In observing people view the work, the punctum is The Baby, he engages them, draws them in, and always gets a laugh or smile before they move to the stadium to see what is really going on.

 

 

 

Sections