4. April 1996 – 4. May 1996

Jerald Frampton (US), Michelle Luke (US)

People have always been fascinated by artificial representations of reality: paintings, sculpture, wax museum effigies, toys, stage sets, etc.

This is an interest I share. I make my images by photographing miniature dioramas. I build these dioramas out of wood, plaster, clay, cut-out photographs and other materials. I then photograph and print the finished images in color.

Constructing tableaux to be photographed allows me to control and create every detail in an artificial world, and the process of photography renders the miniature set as if it were full scale. The resulting pictures have a visual quality that is artificial but carries the weight and meaning of reality. I have been working in this manner for several years. I feel it gives me the freedom to combine free association with pictorial control.

I sometimes use soft focus, which can be a metaphor not only for softness but also for chaos and confusion. Early photographers used soft focus to bridge the gap between painting and photography. I am very interested in nineteenth century photographers such as Oscar Gustave Rejlander, Henry Peach Robinson and F. Holland Day, as well as the early pictorialists such as Julia Margaret Cameron and Alfred Stieglitz. Their impulse to mimic the conventions of classical art and to make reference to historical and literary imagery has been derided as naive and wrongheaded, but I feel their work explored true photographic impulses. They imbued the photographic surface with totally controlled composition and detail, and implied truth while creating fiction. I believe their work has provided a foundation for much of contemporary cinematography and advertising art.

I try to create pictures that are sensational, emotional and humorous. For inspiration, I draw from different genres of representational imagery: movies, religion, family snapshots, history, myth and popular stories of love and heroism. I try to work intuitively so that the images do not close down or become too narrow and concrete. In some cases, the images were suggested by memories of my own childhood in the United States.

Jerald Frampton