For the past decade I have created artwork about war and nationhood. Whether I photograph a Revolutionary War site, examine the U.S./Mexican border, or contemplate how photography mediates my understanding of events in Iraq and Afghanistan, I examine how images of conflict and contested lands shape American psyche and history.
My series Borderlands reimagines the U.S./Mexico border landscape; it includes views of the land that are visually truncated and deteriorating. The series consists of “straight” photographs made on sight in the American Southwest, unique screen-prints, and video stills from Google Maps explorations. In the screen-prints, I over-layer internet iconography, compress views of the United States and Mexico into the same image, and reintegrate the spaces in order illustrate their interconnectedness, despite the politics that renders them separate. Borderlands intentionally confuses the virtual and physical worlds and includes iconography that suggests noise and silence, seeing and not seeing.
In my photographic series Scheduled Implosions (2014–present), I consider the temporality of our constructed landscape by photographing media coverage of building demolitions. For this series, I use a medium-format camera and instant film to shoot still images of news coverage of building demolitions found on the internet. I employ long exposures in order to make visible the tensions between the still and moving pictures. My new images offer ghostly visions of a collapsing world and point to our collective fascination with violence. They also allude to recent political events, such as the failure of Wall Street, the recent housing crash, and international conflict and war.
In addition, I have been altering the code of jpeg images to intentionally corrupt files of architectural plans. The digital corruption renders each plan useless and anticipates the inevitable collapse of each structure. These new images point to the impermanence of our world and the corruptibility of the images we create about it.
In Battlegrounds (2011-2013), I depict the iconography of war. I also consider how my own understanding of war (as an American civilian) is mediated through images. Thus, I re-photograph preexisting pictures of battlegrounds in order to show how the material elements of a photograph influence my perception. The war I see is empty, dislocated, and hazy. These images offer a fragile vision of human experience and damaged landscape.
The artist book and photographic series, Battle of Monmouth (2010), pictures a Revolutionary War site located outside of Freehold, New Jersey. Today the Battle of Monmouth exists in fragments; excavated bullets, cloudy horizon lines, and illegible texts mark the conflict. The Monmouth book does not attempt to retell a single historic narrative. Instead, It presents a collection of image fragments that suggest the limits and possibilities of historic meaning. As an artist, I am interested in how we can begin to imagine a war that pre-dates the invention of photography.