Alternative Facts: Photography by Any Means
Artist Statement, 2021
As a published novelist, I believe I bring a writer’s sensibility to my photography. I want my images to stay with the viewer the way a good story does. Comparatively, photography is harder. In a novel, I can slowly build a character and gradually set a scene. Experiencing a good photograph, on the other hand, happens almost instantaneously, but not really; a good image will arrest and invite the viewer to study what’s going on in the image, requiring a longer look.
This show is especially fun because of its theme: Alternative Facts. Most people think novels are all about creating an alternative reality. Photographs, however, are supposed to record the truth of a particular time and place. I know that neither of those notions is true. Novels can be truer than real life because the story reveals motivations and character in ways we rarely achieve in so-called “real life.” On the other hand, a photo can be entirely staged to fool the eye. Truth is slippery—always has been and always will be.
Photography forces me to be entirely in the moment when I’m behind my camera. I tend not to do much after-processing because I trust that I can find the art, the ambiguity, mostly while I’m shooting. Pink Swirl with Mask, the photo in this show, uses costume, mask and movement to capture a magical swirl that is more than just dress-up or dance. It is more like being completely enveloped in the pink swirl.
Interestingly, my model loved the 1940s pink taffeta skirt we were using. She said it made her “feel glamourous, like being in an old movie.”
On display March 1 – April 12, 2021 at the PACE Center Art Gallery: