Big Blurs

These works are large-scale color photographs, archivally mounted to aluminum honeycomb panels. There is no computer manipulation or manipulation of the negative or final print. They stand as pure photographs, the recording of a light event on a negative.

I say this because when first seeing these works, most viewers believe they are paintings. Even after discovering they’re not, they still catch themselves referring to them as paintings. This is quite gratifying as one of my primary goals was to make the final print stand on its own. I wanted the work to emphasize itself rather than the subject being photographed; free of the direct representation of the subject.

As an artist, I have long had a love-hate relationship with photography. And yet because photography and its role in art cannot be ignored, I’ve increasingly incorporated it into my work in a wide variety of ways.

My previous work relied on collage, distressing and manipulation to bring out the formal, object qualities of photography. While often satisfying, I realized those works were no longer photographs but instead were collage or manipulated photography.

With the “Big Blurs,” I set a formal challenge for myself. I wanted to create works that were pure photographs; works that would emphasize their own formal qualities, without the crutch of any type of manipulation.

The process of creating these works was spontaneous and playful. I randomly shot what was around me, without viewing or composing the image or adjusting the exposure or focus. My son’s room was a great inspiration; toys, clothing, window blinds, a plastic chair, a cookie jar – all were fair game.

My goal was to show a playful disregard for photographic conventions. I wanted to stay out of the way of the process by removing direct intention from the creation of the work. I wanted to create work that existed in spite of and not because of intention. This allows the richness and character of the process, qualities, and limitations inherent to photography to come through. And hopefully creates objects that are both engaging and elusive.

John Sousa