Constructed Negatives

Each image is a mosaic of dissected 35mm and 120mm black & white, color, and slide film either taken by me or discarded by others. The film is cut apart and reassembled piece by piece over a light table into a large-format negative (see video). This negative is then enlarged in a color darkroom, bringing all the little details into focus.

This work explores the way in which each person's unique experience and perception shapes their view of reality. Individually, each piece of film is a self-contained experience: a unique time and place. Together, they create a larger context, where each piece fills a niche, shaped by and giving shape to the whole.

Process

I collect photographic film: 35mm, 120mm, color, black and white, negatives and slides. Some of them are exposures that I have created. The rest are found or donated by others.

The film is cut apart over a light table and reassembled between two panes of glass into a larger negative which can then be enlarged or contact printed in a traditional color darkroom.

Theory

Each piece of exposed film is a different time; a different place in a different light; a different present moment captured by a different eye.

Those pieces that come from film exposed by myself are linked to specific experiences in my mind. Each has associations to a moment in my life: the moment when i decided to pull the camera up to my eye and release the shutter. Each is a conscious choice: a perceived event, object, or environment that I felt was significant enough to hold on to. They are subjective, decided upon based on my aesthetic: the choices and attractions I have, which have developed since I was born, shaped by my unique path of experiences.

Those pieces that come from others are treated a bit differently. Because I am often unaware of their exact context, my mind can only compare them to events that I myself have experienced. In an effort to understand, I imagine the specifics of their situation. Without a connection to their creation, their meaning becomes generalized, and their placement in the overall image is thusly affected.

To an outside viewer, the context of every piece of negative is unknown. Without a specific connection to the experiences, viewers can make assumptions about their source, based on their own experiences.

This is the subjectivity of our mental experience, and it is the basis for all that we believe.

Everyone "sees" in a different light.