January 8, 1982 - February 3, 1982
image © Michael Peven
I am endlessly fascinated by the reciprocal relationship that photography has with reality. The way we, as a culture, consider photographs as legitimate representations of existing visual reality. “If you can photograph it, it must be real”. Whatever “it” is. Photography is the most sophisticated medium of visual information transfer that we have invented. And yet a photograph is just a piece of paper with silver crystals, dye couplers or small droplets of ink put together in such a way as to replicate something that we generally assume is/was real.
Aaron Siskind talked about the independent nature of the photograph as an object separate from the reality of the thing depicted. These works explore that concept from a humorous perspective. By sticking pins through it, scratching words into the surface, gluing craft eyes or glitter to the image, by treating it like a piece of paper in other words, I’m trying to reinforce that idea, that fact.
My influences come pretty directly from an education that was Bauhaus oriented. I consider my approach to be a formal investigation in the sense that it is often dealing with the medium I’m working with. I think my best photographs are about what a photograph is or could be. On the other hand, In “The Age of Light”, Man Ray says that , “A certain amount of contempt for the materials employed is absolutely essential for the fullest realization of a creative idea”. I agree.
- Michael Peven