This is a selection of images from the series Statesmen: Pictures from the Fifty State Captitols 1996-2005.
With this project, I created a personal Hall of Governors, a collection of salesmen, matinee idols and fools, as well as respected ordinary men. Their faces unaltered, yet transformed, are infused with sadness, silliness, pompousness, and lost power.
My interest in the portraits exists on various levels: in the moment of the original portrait’s making - the peak of a surprisingly ephemeral term of influence; in the visual character of the countenances displayed; in the near anonymity of the once-powerful; in their potential as "sitters" once again, in my reinterpreted images.
My work is tied to the documentary tradition in photography, and informed by my graduate studies in American Civilization. After several years, this approach came to fruition in 1995-1996 as I traveled the U.S. by car, creating a brief, visual record of American history and culture via photographs taken in junk stores, local history museums, and on the street. The Statesmen project shown here evolved from this.
The final images are straight prints of the negatives I make on site; while a few images are combined into multiples, the individual frames are not digitally altered (although some may appear to be). Working within the limitations imposed by circumstance, I twist what is visible through the viewfinder, making mythical images created in-camera, and rooted in reality.
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