The Decomposition and Expansion of Imagery
The images from which I drew inspiration are not particularly hard to come by. They abound on tumblr and other image sharing sites. But to find any actual, concrete information on them is ... a task. The photographs have become completely decontextualized; they've taken on new lives beyond their (as it turns out, tragic) history. There are only a hundred or so of these photographs in existence, and yet at least fifty have been published online (hundreds of thousands of times) without any mention of the Czech brothers who made them. Jacques Biederer and his brother, Charles, captured these images in Paris from 1908 until sometime in the 1940's when the Nazi's invaded.
What I've done, here, is reduce (erase) the image beyond four pixels, and then offer only the most basic suggestion of the rest.
I am most interested in the process of excavating these photographs--the impossibility of preserving their exact tones, or finding a better resolution. Hence my interest in pixels and precise shades of grey (which are actually cmyk and not grayscale). I'm also dealing with the innately fetishistic nature of these pieces, and I don't mean simply that they are sexual or dealing with themes of bondage and domination. I mean fetishistic in that the photos have become separate from their mode of production. And so I drive this concept further, by focusing in on (what I deem to be) the most compelling aspect of the photograph (the punctum) and removing all else. I reduce this detail to its most fundamental, digital makeup: the pixel. And offer only a small sentence as an allusion to the 'original.' My intention, here, is to further eroticize the image in that the viewer is forced to imagine a larger whole out of something incredibly abstract and simple. I also wish to draw attention to the possibility of inaccuracy that haunts this piece (How faithful are the digital images to the actual photographs? Did I reproduce the color blocks correctly in print? Am I lying about the Czech brothers?).