Exploring the Photographic Model
Foil Photographs

Executed in 1971, this piece challenges standard photographic practice by removing the objects from the experience. It explores the consequences of photography with light sources, camera and the photographer in place, but the objects that normally define a space missing. Instead of objects within a space, aluminum foil is used as an agent to manipulate the light. The resulting photographs do not record the light sources directly nor do they convey much information about the foil, instead they are the records of their interaction.


Secrets

Executed in 1971, the latent image is the end point of this participatory work. Individuals were invited to come to a recording station where they would write a personal secret on a piece of paper, photograph the paper with a prepositioned camera, then discard the paper without any other person seeing the contents. The paper was then burned, removing all physical evidence of the secret, the only remaining evidence being in the mind of the participant and as a latent image on the film. After all of the secrets had been recorded, the film canisters were taken to a darkroom where the film was removed from the protective canisters and then sealed in a lightproof repository. The repository was locked to protect the secrets and a flash bulb and battery were placed inside the repository with a switch that would be tripped if the repository were opened to obliterate the secretsí latent images. Within the repository, the secrets are recorded but unobservable while their invisible presence on the film degrades with the passage of time.


TV Images

Executed in 1972, this piece focuses again on the source of the images. The real world of objects and light sources and space is completely absent. The entire observable world is replaced by the glow of the TV screen. Rather than recapitulating the television images as broadcast or focus on the television as an object in space, these images are shot in an environment where the television is the only source of light, effectively dematerializing it and the relatively primitive electronics available in TVís of that vintage are misadjusted, making it a rich source of unintended and evocative images.


Panorama City Apartment

Executed in 1972, this piece brings space back into the picture. The space is an empty room in a generic southern California apartment. The apartment was in Panorama City, an undistinguished spot in the undifferentiated expanse of the San Fernando Valley. In this room, shadows and lights dominate. The only objects occupying the space are light sources and transparent reflective surfaces.


TV Reflections

Executed in 1972, this was a background performance focused on the physical image. The centerpiece was a print of a photograph showing a TV with no picture, just reflections of the room. While it is tempting to think of the photographic process as mechanical or automatic, the imperfections of the physical image are real and require someone with patience and dexterity to conceal them. In the performance, on the periphery of gathering, a very imperfect photograph was spotted, slowly making the image more nearly perfect.