Obscura

Digital Photography, ongoing

 

Obscura examines the relationship between the photographer, the camera, and the space the photographer occupies. With the rising presence of cameras in contemporary culture, the photographer's attention shifts from their subject of interest, such as a friend or monument, to the interaction with the device itself. Nowhere is this shift more evident than in high-profile locations like tourist attractions and landmarks. In these settings the camera is increasingly becoming a tool for our culture's mass perpetuation of images and desire to say, "I was here" over first-hand experience.  

While Obscura primarily critiques this phenomena, suggesting that we should spend less time taking photos for "proof" and more time directly engaging the space, it also has led myself to a new understanding of our most photographed locations; that these places are more dynamic and evolving than the timelessness of photos typically suggest.  

The images in the series are not composited. They are created from photos I have taken while traveling, which I manipulate to create the effect of voiding the surrounding environment. Thus, rather than attempting to document a pristine view of iconic locations such as Yellowstone, or Tokyo Imperial Palace, the series instead profiles the people I encounter during my visits. In a way, the final images not only reveal a part of my personal experience as voyeur, but they also depict the new reality of these locations as living tourist attractions, activated by the very people who we so often try to cut out of the images we take home.