Beyond Recognition

In the 1980s I stopped shooting live concerts, after working in the music business for several years. I had been given a Polaroid SX-70 to experiment with and as I was still visually interested in music, I began to use it to appropriate images from music videos. 

Technology at that time was very different, but I was intrigued by the way it altered the nature of reality, speeding it up so we see things more quickly. Video gives us 30 frames per second, so we process millions of images each week. We pause, we fast forward, and the images on the screen are different from what we know of the world. 

If technology alters photographic reality, what is real and what exists only within the photograph itself? These Polaroids were not immediately frozen in time and space, and the photograph was only the beginning of the process. 

Using tools to manipulate the dyes and then sometimes adding marker (and later computer technology), I was able to deconstruct the initial image and take it entirely out of its original context. It was no longer a portrait of an individual but an anonymous being, and more symbolic of that new technological world. 

Images from Beyond Recognition have been exhibited worldwide, and were part of the Polaroid Collection. They are included in the book and traveling exhibition, The Polaroid Project.

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