Iraq, Presidential Elections, and Image Appropriation

So, if you scroll back about a year, you might recall that I am working on a book with Oxford University Press.  I am writing a text book on photographic processes – really what we call alternative processes (cyanotype, wet plate, platinum, etc.).

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When I teach of my Alternative Processes in Photography class, I like to define “alternative processes” as the photographic techniques that never really had much commercial application, but nonetheless remain strong because of the aesthetic possibilities.

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I just finished writing a draft chapter on low budget image transfer techniques – using different solvents, gesso, tape, etc. – to make and reconfigure photographic images.   As part of the introduction, I also write about the history of photographic image appropriation.

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And in putting this chapter together, I went back into the storage shelves of my studio, and pulled down a little one of a kind book I made during 2003-2004, during the height of the Iraq war and the run-up to the Bush-Kerry presidential election.tape_lifts003

Each day, I’d buy a newspaper, and select one image.  Using only scotch tape, I’d lift fragments on these images off the newspaper pages, and then mount them in my book.

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I found myself remarkably disenchanted with the war and propaganda machine put in place to keep it running.  I felt that if I found a new way to read the news, with these pieces and fragments I was putting together and recontextualizing, I could actually get a clearer understanding of all the information and misinformation I was reading every day.  And I was remarkably disillusioned with American culture and the manipulative tactics of my government.

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It was satisfying to find this little book again, and I still rather like some of the fragments and images recreated on the pages.  I hope some of them make it into my book.

 

 

 

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