I make pictures of Invisible Ink.
I expose reality and perception with a camera. With the first cry and breath, we begin to use Visual Thinking. We live by observing everything, deciding upon its purpose, and how best to join with it. We name everything: me, you, momma, family, other, home, world, school, job, people, places, and things. On, and on, it goes until the last breath; scripting it all with The Invisible Ink of this process. Every name or word we decide becomes the symbol of This Ink.
My photographs are symbols, invisible inkblots, using more symbols.
When I can See myself observing, the Invisible Ink becomes visible to me; I then get to decide if I am happy with my decision. If not, an opportunity to write afresh, another story, learning that both reality and perception are fluid. My photography is my practice with life; my photography projects, the curriculum
My photographs are symbols, invisible inkblots, using more symbols, hopefully inviting the viewer to find them enjoyable and rewarding in some personal way.
Having an artist statement and working in projects is hard for me, but I am told that to be a persuasive communicator using photography, one must. I did not go to art school. I have learned my craft by doing anything and dropping what did not work. Gratefully I did not need to feed myself with it.
About my artist statement- if I am supposed to explain my purpose, my best, albeit feeble attempt at that is presented above via the Invisible Ink metaphor.
LOOKING FOR SIGHT – Stumblings
I used to think that I would take my camera and go somewhere to take pictures, usually driving, sometimes walking, but always somewhere else. As I have practiced what I call stumblings, I understand that it is not going, but stopping that I am doing.
I look. I make a picture. It is the right one if it stops my mind and makes me question what I am seeing. Do I see what is there? Or, am I deciding what I am seeing? Why? For what purpose?
In Looking For Sight, I aim to create images that interrupt the almost unconscious process of assuming to know what one is seeing; to create images that question the validity of that assumption and provide an opportunity to write a different story, thereby learning who the author is.
Subject and Process:
The subject of these works will be the scenes I encounter as I wander with my camera, exploring Visual Thought using photographic images. I will use these scenarios in two ways. Much like a crime scene for example, some will be storytellers. Others will be scenes where both myself and the viewer ascribe our own meanings. Some will be both; all will use the language of symbols and Visual Thought as communication tools.
I will consider the images successful if they engage the viewer long enough to warrant an interpretation of their meaning. WHAT the image is conveying is not essential to me. Increased self-awareness of the process of Visual Thinking and how we use the visual world to communicate is a goal for myself and, hopefully, viewers. I call it reading the Invisible Ink.
The majority of these random “stumblings” are in The American South and will speak with another layer of Southern symbology for those attuned.
This project is about the assignment of personality and identity. Within the first three minutes of meeting a new person or situation, human nature drives us to appraise, classify, and designate an identity for each encounter. This primal instinct served humanity well for survival but causes much separation and conflict in modern society.
Much like Robert Frank’s exploration of American society, I travel solo in all types of communities searching for evidence of personality expressed or identity stated, either by the person or by their hand upon their environment. I primarily seek such manifestations that could be construed to have drastically different meanings, thus opening the door for viewers to become aware of their assessments and question the validity of such.
My work in this project is about creating odd images whose intent and point of view is purposefully ambiguous, prompting the viewer to assign their own meaning to the photograph. By triggering the viewer, I hope they will realize the interpretation is a reflection of their own views, past, and biases, and has no reality in the image. I want viewers to reconsider their profoundly entrenched or controversial preconceptions for validity, opening the door to a more empathetic and tolerant union with the world.
There is a harmony, a balance, below the visible turbulent surface of everything. Sometimes I see it through the whitecaps and foam. Sometimes it is elusive and can’t be found, at least for me anyway. I don’t know why.
When I do seem to find it, I am not entirely clear if it is more present there in that moment and place, or if it is I who is just more able to see it then, like Leonard Cohen, living in his Tower Of Song.
I like to believe that it is everywhere, at all times, that I could see it if only I would stop looking at the everything else.
For me, a successful landscape photograph is not one that captures this harmony and balance, but one that leaves out the whitecaps and foam; leaves out the everything else.
For me, a successful landscape photograph is not one that captures this harmony and balance, but one that leaves out the whitecaps and foam; leaves out everything else.
This project is about the markers of life and memory; what is inside and what is outside. Genesis, chapter two, gives Man the authority to name all things, and we have never stopped.
This work is about creating images fraught with the assignment of meanings and the passage of time that I have ascribed to them during my life; the “namings” that I have given them. A parallel objective is to render them in such a way artistically that the viewer is neutrally encouraged to ascribe his or her own “name” to them, with the hope that doing so will be personally revelatory.
All of the objects in each image will consist of artifacts recently discovered, or re-discovered, as I go through the memorabilia* of my childhood. I will also include memorabilia from before my birth if I can establish a connection today between the object then and the experience of my life then.
Accompanying each image I create, I intend to write verbally about its “name” for me.
*Memorabilia, a noun, is defined as things kept because they have sentimental value or because they are associated with some important event or person.
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Growing up as the son of two professional artists in the conservative mid-twentieth century South influenced Todd's perception of contemporary culture. Often being that artistic kid on the fringe of normal, his position as an outlier made him a vigilant observer of people, places, and situations.
A successful career as a salon owner, and stylist, Todd worked closely with people to express their sense of identity. Much of his photographic work seeks to find, document, and tell these unique stories.
For decades, Todd photographed commercially to support his business and in 2010 restructured his life to focus on artistic work. Since then, his work has been exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions in the Southeast region.