As a part of the Cleveland Foundation's Creative Fusion Program, I was invited by the Cleveland Print Room and the Cleveland Museum of Art to be a part of Creative Fusion-Spring 2017_Cuba Edition. Representatives from seven local arts organizations traveled to Cuba in January of 2017 to start to build innovative partnerships between Cuba and Cleveland, centered on transformative art and artists in both communities. As a part of this trip I spent several days shooting wet plate collodion photographs on the streets of Old Havana and Matanzas.
Olney & Lagano_ Old Havana
Marta_ Old Havana
Zulma_ Old Havana
Amanda_ Old Havana
Patricia_ Old Havana
1906 Building_ Old Havana
Benjamin_ Old Havana
Ediciones Vigia, Matanzas
Yanina_ Old Havana
Sleep_ Old Havana
Joel_ Old Havana
Migelalia-Avila-Omar-Rafael_ Old Havana
persistence of vision
In this body of work I explore the perception, reality, and clarity of identity as it relates to society’s increasing focus on engagement through social networking and online relationships.
The meteoric rise in social networking has created the perception of closeness and knowing, while in reality having the opposite effect. Individuals work hard to present themselves, their lives, and their interests in carefully curated “bits” of digital text and imagery. We continuously consume this information and become convinced that we know someone through these digital interactions…who they are, their likes/dislikes, the arc of their lives. In reality if we were to look more closely we would realize how little is being revealed. Our mind has filled in the empty spaces and reconstructed the movements of individual lives as they exist in the virtual world. This illusion of connection along with the lack of true connection has in many ways made us less comfortable relating face-to-face.
By physically constructing barriers, and placing them into the camera, I have directly altered the visual information reaching the image surface. Introducing a variety of these "screens" has sculpted the image captured by the lens into something both familiar and disconnected. I constructed the work here with these varying layers of imagery on aluminum and clear glass, allowing the exposed surface silver, the glass transparency, and the material surface reflectivity to work together to both obscure and define the subject. Introducing the electric blue surfaces creates an unexpected visual interruption from the black and white, and is visual link to both digital imagery (computer screens) and early analog imagery (cyanotypes).
The advent of wet plate collodion photography in the mid-1800’s provided for the first time in history an affordable way for the masses to carry with them a substitution for the face-to-face physicality of being together. Cased tintypes and ambrotypes were carried by the millions providing a constant connection that could be referenced anytime. In essence becoming a miniature portable link to family members and loved ones.
Wet plate collodion is one of the highest resolution photographic processes ever invented…far higher resolution than digital or film. Yet it also has unique visual and physical attributes that continually show the hand of the maker and the limitations of the technology. It eschews digital sheen, and repeatability. Collodion is a direct positive process. The image plates in front of you are the ones that were exposed in-camera. These images hold within them the same light that defined the subject when they were taken. There are no layers of distancing between the original subject and the final collodion image.
“ persistence of vision…” Greg Martin 2016
This ongoing body of work explores how we overlay the geometry of our experiences onto all we see. We see things through a lens that is clouded by history and personal experience and these geometries become a part of our visual landscape.
Dark and Fog
Series of portraits exploring extremes of dark and light along with surface fogging. Many of these were shot with non-traditional lenses such as mounting inexpensive magnifying glasses onto camera lens board.
Wet plate collodion portraiture
I have been drawn to the beauty and strangeness of industry since my childhood in the early 1970's, when my dad would take my brother and I on hikes in the Cleveland Flats. I find it endlessly fascinating to explore these areas that speak to Cleveland's heyday as an industrial giant.
untitled city portrait (2014)
8.5" x 15" black glass ambrotype
a new look at the simple beauty in everyday objects