BENDING TIME: Antique photo collage
2013 - present
The convergence of my passion for exploring the world and collecting old, discarded, often damaged objects, ephemera and antique photographs led to creating this body of work. I occupy myself on road trips making traditional photographs, both digital and film based, while stopping along the way to explore antique malls, flea markets and garage sales.
My emotional connection to this work is totally different from other projects. When looking at the photographs, I know that my gaze is falling on the subjects in the same way the photographer saw them many years ago. When I hold a portrait I suspect I am holding a photographic print the subject held and studied. Some of the materials I use have survived since the late 1800s. Occasionally I can see where a photographer retouched an image to enhance details, showing a presence that exists even in absence. This is a reoccurring theme in much of my work.
A fingerprint may be embedded in an old negative or a print may have the signature of the photographer or the name of the subject, but most of these images are of anonymous people and places made by unidentified photographers.
By combining parts of books, negatives, photographs, antique printed material, feathers, watch parts, children’s drawings, paper dolls, old postcards and anything that exists in my odd collections, I am able to create new images. These collages are painstakingly difficult to make. Finding the elements that will work together and that are the proper scale is an endless challenge. The result is a tiny, often textured collage with subtle depth that is difficult to recognize when viewed on the computer.
This work is the antithesis of the “perfection” of digital photography. The only requirement I have imposed for these collages is size and that each piece includes some element that is a photograph, negative, or other material related to making an image using a camera. Currently there are 75 handmade collages in Bending Time.