Flatfile Collection

Artist Statement

I have been attracted to and photographing the human face for 40 years.  This body of work is a major departure from my portrait work which used traditional analog equipment including large format cameras and film. Using this equipment, I demanded from myself proper exposures with sharp focus in both studio and environmental settings.  Over these past two years, I found myself wanting to step out of my comfort zone with this work and become looser in my approach to it. I began using digital 35mm cameras but found myself reverting back to analog large format each time.

I am aware of artists using scanners as cameras but their subject matter is very different than what I want to photograph. I began to experiment with my own flatbed scanner and later, a hand-held wand scanner. I was intrigued by the possibilities that both these types of scanners offer me but was not sure how to tie my subject matter to the equipment.  During frustrating computer sessions, the living room TV became my distraction where, with cable remote in hand, I would find myself scanning the channels for interesting conversations between characters. It was during one of these sessions, that I picked up the wand scanner and scanned the screen. This proved to be my ah-ha moment.

This scanner allows me to scan like I am drawing. Due to the mechanics of scanners, I am unable to capture a singular moment. Instead, I capture a time exposure while I move the scanner across the screen. I must anticipate the activity taking place on screen so that I can capture the decisive moment and its before and after.

This interprets as a confusion between scan lines and frozen moment that summarizes the emotion of the subject onscreen.  Using the plethora of faces on my cable line-up, with its shopping networks, reality shows and 24/7 news shows as my source subjects, I have expanded my exploration of the face, expression, gesture, emotion and time all within one image.