This Connection Should Make Us Suspect
Geologists take numerous photographs to document the sites of research and to create a record of conditions in the field. As rockfaces are without horizons, the scale of rock formations can be impossible to ascertain from the image itself. This is especially case where the rock features exhibit fractal-like patterns. There is a failure of scale and images show indeterminate spaces. Objects for scale are included in the photographs, to help interpret the scale of the site. The object must have a recognisable scale, and is conventionally a hammer, survey book or ruler. Sometimes a hand or finger holds the object in place. Placed strategically, the object transforms the image from an abstraction to a record. The placing of objects is like a small staging of the geologic act, evidence of a momentary photographic construction.
There is a particular category of images in which the object for scale is the camera’s lens cap. I have been collecting lens-cap-for-scale images for a couple of years. These circles of the lens cap – sometimes under-exposed as a solid black circle – appear like an unexpected trangression of the photographic and rocky surface (to a non-geologist). It both disrupts and expands the image, concealing what is behind and expanding what is beyond. The photographs tell us about the deep time of the earth, but also the space through which our understanding of time is produced.
This work plays with these ideas of scale, intrusion and the geologic gesture. Intrusion is a geologic term meaning ‘the action or process of forcing a body of igneous rock between or through existing formations, without reaching the surface.’ In my work, the intrusion is both photographic and geologic, though the surface is breached through the introduction of a new image. An aspect of the original image is concealed by the introduction of a new photographic object. I am interested in forcing connections between geologic sites and images as objects, using ideas of disruption to create a new photographic space. The images in this work are from a variety of sources – found, donated and taken by me – confusing any notion of authorship or originality and mirroring the wide sharing of images by geologists.
Thanks especially to Jim Talbot, and to Ahmad Aghahosseini.
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