Image + Text Series

I find the question of the relationship of mages and texts to be both fascinating and fundamental to photography. Most photographs exist in a sea of texts external to them, such as captions, titles, notes, advertising copy. And many photographs contain texts, or at least fragments of written language. We commonly use the term “reading a photograph” or think of photographs as visual “notes.” During my graduate studies at UCSD, we analyzed photographs “semiotically” and deconstructed them as we might deconstruct a written text and, perhaps consequentially,  my MFA thesis was titled “The Verbal/Visual Dichotomy in Photo-Art Theory.”

 

I’ve done numerous series and individual works in which texts have been associated with, or incorporated into photographs, as well as series of photographs in which words and word fragments (along with other signifiers) have been prominent.

 

A number of these are presented here:

 

Caveat Emptor (1981) pairs photos from the Michigan State Fair with found texts (photographed from an early-1950s Civil Defense manual).

 

Crater Lake (1996) is a four-frame panorama of the natural wonder; each frame has an associated text that describes the lake in a different way.

 

Direct Objects (1993-2007) is a series that pairs everyday personal objects with stories about the object.

 

Surveillance (1987-91) is a series of infra-red photographs of rooftop satellite antennas with overlaid data in the style of a surveillance camera.