Chicago; Stories to be Written by Steve Geer

I like to take long walks in Chicago, the city in which I live. Even though I’ve walked the same streets many times there are always new things to see.

I like to take long walks in Chicago, the city in which I live. Even though I’ve walked the same streets many times there are always new things to see.

Not new big-picture things, but little things – a discarded face mask, a lost toy, a striking shadow, the reflection in a puddle, a broken mirror. Each of these little things has a story to tell.  In the series “Stories to be Written” objects discovered by chance in Chicago are shown in their found context – the ground on which they rest and the towering environment around them. Their unwritten stories are like latent images waiting to be developed with the experience and bias of the viewer.

Each image has been made by combing two photographs taken from one spot, the place where the object was found. At each location I have chosen to look vertically straight-up and then straight-down, plus or minus a few degrees. In the digital darkroom the two photographs are combined.  This produces “you are standing here” images in which both the texture of the ground under foot and the neck-straining world above are revealed. Somehow our brains are able to disentangle these mixed up-down composite views and interpret the results. The Cubist painters understood our ability to do this when they constructed canvasses that showed multiple views of a subject. The merged up-down images in the present series can be thought of as the inverse of these Cubist paintings. Instead of looking at a fixed point from multiple directions we are looking outwards from a fixed point in two directions.

On the streets we are interpreting images all the time as our brains synthesize the “real world” based on what we actually see, what we expect to see, and what our other senses are telling us. Our expectations help us make sense of the visual world. The merged up-down images are perhaps relatively easy for us to interpret because we have strong expectations for what things should be up and what should be on the ground, and in sorting this out we begin to write our version of the unwritten story. [Official Website]

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