The Music of Light
Is there a meaning to music? My answer would be, 'Yes.' and 'Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?' My answer to that would be, 'No.'
- Aaron Copland
Abstraction in photography represents a considerable departure from the raison d’être for much of modernist (as well as postmodern) photography. For example, given Berenice Abbott’s call for the medium to “to reveal and celebrate reality,” it should come as no surprise that among the best-known abstract photographs are those taken in real world settings in such a way that the subject is not immediately recognizable (e.g., Aaron Siskind’s expressive details of painted walls, Minor White’s photographs of Capitol Reef, or William Garnett’s aerial landscapes).
Contemporary photographers (e.g. Barbara Kasten, Carl Chiarenza, Michael Floman, Adam Fuss) have developed different approaches to abstraction. For example, inspired by László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, Fuss bypasses the camera altogether and places found objects directly onto photographic paper. My approach is to first photograph paper constructions, thereby focusing only on line, form and colour; and second, create these images using multiple exposures taken from two or more vantage points.
The result is a body of photographs that depict a world wholly created in, rather than discovered through, the camera, while still maintaining fidelity to the medium. Although there is some implicit comparison of these works to paintings, my intention is to create images evoking creations of light rather than paint.