Have you seen my keys? And other stories

This series began, as many things do in life, from a very different idea than the one it has ended up with. After moving to Rochester, NY to attend graduate school, I found myself experimenting with digital photography more than I ever had before. The stress of graduate school combined with the disorientation of new surroundings brought up pounds of emotional debris from the depths of my unconscious. I was reading Jung and happened on the theory of the “uncanny”, felt an affinity towards it and started making images influenced by it. However, after reading Allan Sekula’s 1974 essay, “On the Invention of Photographic Meaning”, I found myself suddenly aware of the swarm of words surrounding all the images that my fellow graduate students and teachers were taking for granted as being in a photograph. When really, a photograph without text, can give us no new information, it is like an article without a noun, “the” without the subject. One morning in a graduate seminar course, utterly sleep deprived and exhausted, I was sitting there thinking about these images and the words, “Have you seen my keys?” popped into my head and I doubled over with mirth. With just a simple twist in the words used, this series goes from being dark and ominous, to being light and humorous and that is the idea, that it is the words that are our emotional compass when apprehending a photograph for the first time. It is often from within places of darkness that we find our ability to find the levity and humor that catapult us out of it. It is the stories we tell ourselves that define how we create the chapters in our lives. We can write a horror story, or a comedy, a mystery, or a love story from the exact same material, it is just a choice, ours to make.

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