destroying art

a working title,  work in progress, initial thoughts
distressed images – negatives and transparencies

My distressed images/destroyed art series explores the precious nature of the photograph.

When I was a student I was introduced to the work of Arnulf Rainer and was drawn to the works of his painted out works His work inspired me to experiment and to alter, damage and ultimately destroying my negatives and prints both in the darkroom and in post process with; scissors, paint, knives, darkroom chemicals and even my toaster. My experiments with film were sidelined by the advance of digital technology and tools such as Photoshop, but the influence of Rainer’s techniques lingered.

Revisiting the destructive processes was motivated by a film lab ruining my transparencies from a trip to Detroit MI, where I had the chance to photograph a near impossible to access and gorgeous abandoned church. I felt absolutely crushed when the lab handed me my mangled rolls of film and said “sorry about your luck”. I was also dumbfounded by my reaction. How could a photographic image be that precious?

One of the images had been torn exactly along the line of a curved balcony so I scanned the pieces of the image and rebuilt the photo, the result dimmed the importance of all my other pictures from the trip. And so I picked through my negatives and transparencies and got to work re-imaging my work.

Is the final image more beautiful than the one you could try to imagine it once was.  Has something been lost or been created?