Printed on aluminum, then crumpled into sculptural shapes, these photographs treat urban scenes as if they're fleeting, ghostly impressions. Rather than showing the "hard city" of buildings and concrete, the images represent the viewer's dreamlike consciousness.
This imaginary city intermingles inhabitant and city, identities and desires. There are illusions of scale and many-layered reflections.
The city is what one makes of it, and vice versa
In these entryways to seats of power—including banking, media, and retail—the spaces appear almost sacred in their polished surfaces and lush adornments. Columns flank the revolving doors. Flags, abstract paintings and potted plants provide decoration. And along the street, the underside of power may also be glimpsed.
Taken at night or early morning, these photographs reveal no-man's-lands that are largely deserted, except for a guard or two. The vast floors glow under fluorescent illumination.
The effect is as massive and impenetrable as a military fortress or Greek temple—so that the supplicants are awed, made to believe that these edifices are eternal and immutable.
No Man's Land
The ambiguous territory of modern airports represents a kind of limbo neither here nor there.
The runways' vast expanse is interrupted by mysterious signals and markers, as well as by circus-like caravans of luggage carts. The noses of planes loom against plate glass, which reflects the ubiquitous neon of fast food and luxury shops.
And passengers wait in anonymous gray-carpeted holding areas, surrounded by aluminum panels--as if the whole edifice might suddenly take off.
What does it mean to be nowhere? How does passing through No Man's Land add to an anxiety of displacement, as well as suggest possible escape?
In the Field
Taken in natural history museums, including the Field Museum in Chicago and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, these photographs make close contact with the animals, while including all the context of the displays: glass cages, neon tubes, elaborate descriptive labels.
It is as if the natural history dioramas are standing in for an overly mediated world, frozen in place and categorized. Yet even as the artificiality reveals itself, a kind of empathy emerges. An antelope noses the glass. A zebra peers out from a thicket. A giraffe cranes its neck against a false sky.
The creatures, for the most part, appear content, literally in their element—while the shadows of onlookers lurk at the edges. It's unclear whether the animals or humans are held captive, and on which side of the glass lies a dys- or utopia.
Taken in hotel rooms, these images reveal the emptiness of life while traveling: bare white walls and ceilings, interrupted by a lighting fixture or gold mirror. Of living stripped of anything personal, more llke floating in a void.
Look closer, and tiny flaws appear. A rip in the wallpaper, a smudge on a glass.
That bed, reflected in the requisite flat-screen TV, could be anyone's. On that wrinkled sheet the impression of an anonymous body. The subject becomes as vacant as his surroundings.
These images are inspired by the French term coined by the Spanish architect Ignasi Solà-Morales Rubió, which describes abandoned areas, undefined and unused, found on the borders of cities.
Here the spaces are blank interiors, empty spaces behind the scenes that suggest a theatrical event about to begin just off camera. The setting is a stairwell, the corner of a lobby, a niche filled with electrical components. Materials include concrete, drywall, aluminum, with an occasional flash of red pipe or an EXIT sign.
Human life is largely absent, and the construction is industrial, anonymous: a factory-made Beckett scene.
These views between houses reveal the complex layering of daily life.
These neighborhoods in Greater Boston are packed with triple-deckers spaced a driveway apart, marked off by chainlink and orange traffic cones. Like peering into an archaelogical dig, these photographic vistas show roofs and fences and telephone poles several blocks deep.
The driveways are a personal space that's open for viewing: the cars and milk crates, trash bins and clay pots, plus whatever detritus overflows from the yard. The photographs are a record of what happens between things, while life goes on elsewhere.
Look up, if you dare, and everything converges: skyscrapers, traffic signals, power lines, flags. A brilliant sun lights up a vast blue sky, cut up into awkward slices and jigsaw pieces.
The view is the diametrical opposite of bird's-eye, perhaps ant's-eye or at least pedestrian's-eye. Over our heads the world revolves around our singular vision, but we are pretty small and insignificant.
Does glancing up steeply invoke the same vertigo as peering over the edge of a rooftop? It may be that we are already falling and just don't know it yet.
In these images taken from a car at twilight, the auto functions as a kind of camera obscura: focusing through the windshield, framing the shots with the steering wheel, letting the car’s speed act as a slow-motion aperture.
Houses and bridges slide by, and telephone poles and traffic lights become monumental against an intense cyan or purple sky. What is usually glimpsed from the corner of they eye becomes the subject, a rush of barely registered perceptions in the hurried pace at the end of the day.
Taken from trains or elevated subways, these photographs capture glimpses of the urban cityscape streaming past: a patch of roof, some shrubbery, the smear of a high rise.
In a way, the speed can be thought of as erasing the scenery, smudging its tones, blending together the land and sky.
Sometimes the sky's brightness overwhelms. Or striated railing obliterates the view. It's as if the solidity of things comes into question, as if the landscape might, at any moment, vanish completely.
"Erasures" is less about what’s out there than what flies past the corner of the eye.
These images capture the vibrant architecture of Southwestern street life, many just above eye-level: the angled rooftops and phone poles, the sunstruck reflections in cars and toys scattered in yards. There are big gravel lots and vines tangled in fences.
Deep ochres and mustards stand out against a blue sky, and the palette feels slightly unreal, as if the camera were taking pictures through aquarium glass.
Any inhabitants are out of sight, yet the scale is human. This is how the city looks without people, as if they've suddenly had to leave, while their dwellings and artifacts remain. The photos describe a stage set waiting to be occupied.
Holy Land is an 18-acre theme park in Waterbury, Connecticut, inspired by selected passages from the Bible. It features a chapel, stations of the cross, and replicas of catacombs and Israelite villages constructed from cinder blocks, bathtubs, and other discards. After being closed to the public in 1984, the park underwent decades of vandalism; it reopened in 2014 and is being gradually restored.
Holy Land is like an abandoned movie set for a biblical epic, with its crumbling towers and paths overtaken by weeds. The whitewashed structures stand out against the hillside overlooking the city of Waterbury, and the park's tall illuminated cross can be seen for miles.
The sayings etched into stones remind me of religious stories for children. I have tried to capture the poignancy of Holy Land’s faded grandeur.