FAUXTOGRAPHY FACTORY FARM
© 2010 Darrell Taylor All
I am not a photographer in the usual sense, but a “painter,” using digital images as my “medium” and software as my “brush”. I construct images in classic pictorial space (perspective, scale), using mostly my own, but also fragments of internet-available images, to build a virtual visual world—with sufficient implausibility to invite a surrealistic distancing, while preserving and motivating an “uncanny” familiarity. It is my hope that our era of television, advertising, and phone cameras provides unexplored means to turn the devaluing ubiquity of the image to the purposes of a humorous critique of our media-saturated lives. I am tempted to say: we have enough images, so why not make art with the ones we have?
image above is a digital "collage" of several hundred individual
pictures and picture fragments, combined into one image in Photoshop. The original image file weighs in at over 4
gigabytes--42,600 pixels wide, by 6,600 pixels in height with more than a hundred layers active at any given stage of development. Printed
at 300 dpi, the picture is twelve feet wide. I have reduced
the size by half for web display.
This grayscale image invites the viewer to find beauty in the conventions of "fine art" photography, while highlighting the clichés of its usual subject-matter, lighting, composition, and staging-- its nostalgia for pre-industrial and romantic imagery.
"Factory Farm" in the title refers to photographic mass reproduction of images that might compete with the "studio masterworks" of "America's most-collected" painter, Thomas Kinkade. A puzzling disjunct arises from our use of the most advanced technical, electronic, and photographic machinery to record the bucolic twilight of rural and sublime landscapes, classic nudes, and filter-tweaked chiaroscuro in a world more or less a century gone, designed to serve a market for decorative "art-objects". Roland Barthes has given us an analytical armature for this sort of critique in his "Pleasures of the Text," where he concedes the great beauty in a text of "plaisir"(classic story-telling with easily recognized characters, clear plot resolutions, and genre-specific style, etc.), while calling for one of "jouissance"--the profound and orgasmic rupture of our artistic templates and expectations, a leap into the "writerly" terrain beyond what is pleasureable, digestible, familiar--one that requires the reader to (re)construct the work in unfamiliar territory.
I hasten to add that "fauxtography" means not merely the dreamy reprise of mainstream photography before the paradigm shifts ushered in by the generations of Arbus, Friedlander, Eggleston, Warhol, Frank, and Winogrand, but also the ontological status of my faked "fine photograph" constructed painstakingly in Photoshop software, printed on a roll-paper digital printer, and exhibited here on the web.
© 2010 - Darrell Taylor