Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Not Every Negative Becomes a Positive

Oct 14, 2021 - Matthew Cronin

In film photography, light leaves its traces on the emulsion, imprinting a transparent reproduction of reality. However, this reproduction is not as faithful to the real as it purports to be. What is photographed becomes cropped, removed from a larger context. Or, in some cases the subjects are even staged. Photography is a manipulation of two worlds, one before the lens and one inside the camera. Rather than represent the world, it produces one anew.[1]
Every photograph from Dwelling is a renegotiation of space. New, speculative interiors are created through a process of laying photographs of different bedrooms on top of one another and montaging them into a single image. The disparate images come together in a way that approximates continuity yet threatens to come apart at the seams.
All of the works from this series are as much about what is beyond the scope of the photograph as they are about what is depicted in the image. The interiors of Dwelling are the consciousness to the exterior’s unconscious and therefor have a direct relationship with one another. This holds true even if what is beyond the scope of the image, unknown to the viewer (or me).
Photography has long been described within the vocabulary of the psychoanalytic. The mediums diffusion into popular culture coincides with major developments in the field of psychoanalysis.[2] Walter Benjamin writes that “one first learns of the optical unconscious just as one learns of the drives of the unconscious through psychoanalysis.”[3]
The simultaneous and interwoven arrival of psychoanalysis and photography helped establish a new sense of space, both architectural and psychological; one that is explored throughout Dwelling.
[1] Beatriz Colomina, Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media (The MIT Press, 1996), 80
[2] Ibid., 80
[3] Walter Benjamin “A Short History of Photography.” The Archive, by Charles Merewether, Whitechapel Ventures
Limited, 2006