Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recent Meanderings in Photography: some things I'm thinking about.

A while ago, I began shooting at an abandoned cactus nursery in Moreno Valley. The pictures were similar in method and aesthetic to my thesis images—a natural palette of muted pastels and greens, nearly shadowless, photographed in such a way as to read almost as a catalog of the subject matter, which in this case was cacti. I was drawn to the way these domestic plants had grown wild and unkempt, like feral cats, or had just shriveled up and died, without the hand of a gardener to look over them. Most of all, I was fascinated by the ways they'd adapted and survived.

I included with these images five photographs that I had found at the site, in what appeared to be the former nursery office. The photographs had been lying on the ground, and were in different states of deterioration. I felt like these photographs helped shed light on my subject matter, emphasizing the history of that particular space, but I also was interested in the ways the images had changed over time: how the flat surface of the photograph had become dimensional, then flat again when I scanned and re-printed it, or how their colors placed them in a specific time period and gave them a sense of the historical, even the archaeological.

The response to these images was interesting in that most viewers didn't associate the subject of the my photographs with that of the found images, and also (sadly) that there was a much greater reaction to the found images than to my own. So, with a gentle prod from my professor ("One of the greatest challenges for young artists is to know when their project has grown into something new..."), I began my exploration of and obsession with vernacular photography and the found image.

(to be continued)

All images (c) G. Heimlich, 2008.


  1. here is a picture i took.
    it is art.
    it has meaning and you cannot understand.
    the art is for me.

    here is a picture i am in.
    it is life.
    it has no meaning but you can understand.
    the life is for you.

  2. damn. (that is to say, i like this very much.)