Cupid Connection. A Series of Photogravure Prints. Gampi Chine Collé on Rives BFK. Image size: 7.5 in X 9 in, Paper size: 22 in X 30 in. 2006.
With this project I am principally involved in exploring the concept of sincerity within the photographic document, specifically within the genre of portraiture. The images investigate the relationship between cataloging and indexing as an artistic practice on one hand and, on the other, present a formal and honest look at he nature of photographic portraiture. The series of intimate photogravure portraits are derived from video stills captured from an unlikely source: a randomly acquired found object consisting of a dating video of middle-aged men from my hometown of Kearney, Nebraska. The suite of prints contains a total of 15 unique images – each depicting a subject of the tape at a sincere moment of dialogue with the video camera. The subjects are devoid of the polish and “pseudo sincerity” that is present within most portraits.
These images are the result of a translation of media. As a result, they look at the issues that arise when an image from low-quality mass distributed videotape is reproduced with a traditional, exceptionally high quality method of production – photogravure. This shift of media raises the question of resonance and intent of the image. In their original incarnation the images were meant as portraits – in concept. Hopefully the participant would find a suitable viewer and make a romantic connection in reality. However, the video format is “quick and dirty” in its scope and intentions – the images on the video were meant to be quickly viewed, then passed along for maximum efficiency and exposure. The photogravure process on the other hand is meant to be held at close distance and is produced in a time-honored traditional manner.
By taking the images out of their original medium I hope to subvert the immediate reactions of both sympathy and of rejection. I wish to intercede between the original medium to subject relationship and give the viewer a chance to re-evaluate the image. Core to this project is the question: can a discomforting image be reproduced in such a way that it becomes a desirable object? And also, does that alter our relationship to the subject matter?