S C R E E N S H O T S and B L A C K B O A R D S
Landscape visualization has always been central to my conceptual interests within photography. In various groups of work, I have explored and questioned dichotomies between virtuality/physicality, stasis/movement, and strict/fortuitous framings, and continue to seek out ways to push the boundaries of the photographic image.
My most recent work addresses this interest in terms of the mutability of mundane surfaces, both public and private. Photographs of computer desktop backgrounds, taken with a large format camera, hesitate between photographic conventions of landscape and portrait. As the former, they represent the landscapes, or environments, which we build for ourselves, pixel portals into the familiar spaces within which we pass hour upon hour. Care and attention is invariably spent on personalizing these desktops—photographs of physical landscapes or family members replace, or complement, those that might be tacked on a wall behind a material desk. Some exhibit chaotic clutter with myriad icons, folders, and documents strewn about the surface, while others are tidied and orderly. These images become portraits of their owners, as well as landscapes of our mediated lives.
Another recent arena of exploration into framed, mutable, and mundane landscapes involves blackboards. As with the computer screenshots, I find myself drawn to these surfaces as further sites of unexplored vision. Ostensibly worthy of sight only in the context of intermittent chalked messages, what can photographic attention reveal within these monochrome surfaces? The act of erasure, which seemingly removes the blackboard from our visual attention, invokes an endless palimpsest; layers of communication are continually built up, only to be systematically obliterated. What happens in the spaces in-between?
- Meggan Gould, 2007
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