An Unfigured Sum (2018–19)

In An Unfigured Sum, a photographic exercise provokes a self-directed question about agency.

After relocating from central-Appalachia to the Pacific Northwest in 2018, I began regularly examining maps of my new environment, scanning the unfamiliar topography for locations to photograph. A particular feature along the Cascade Range and the western reaches of Oregon’s high desert caught my attention: a volcanic crater, plainly named, Hole-in-the-Ground. I had a goal of making non-aestheticized photographs of the crater’s interior—raw visual information to be reworked later on. Based on the crater’s circular form, I devised a set of instructions for how I would photograph it; in short, I would use basic geometric principles to divide the space and then record those divisions using a camera and lens combination with a corresponding angle-of-view; as an additional measure to eliminate subjectivity, I would begin with the camera aligned to magnetic north. I completed my task and left.

Upon further consideration, the attempts at avoiding my own formal inclinations seemed to be a way of gauging the limit to which I was willing to dismiss my instrumentality in the process. Following this realization, I returned to the crater several times to make additional photographs, without the pretense of objectivity. In these subsequent sessions, the choices I made were self-referential to my initial act of photographing the space, rather than to the space itself. The crater was no longer my subject, it simply served as the visible continuity to an idea that had originated from within it.

Handmade maquette, 2019
Softcover, brown paper with backing board
Staple bound with black gaffer tape spine
17 x 28 in (43.18 x 71.12 cm)
40 pages, half-folded sheets
32 images, grayscale inkjet printing on plain paper