TIM NIGHSWANDER

'Seeing' - beyond what is necessary to navigate our daily lives - needs to be a conscious act. The bombardment of visual stimulus is taxing on our brains and we tend to block out and ignore that which is not deemed relevant or important to our routine. My goal as a photographer is to remain open to seeing beyond the obvious, to look for the small moments, the everyday abstractions and accidental juxtapositions that are easily overlooked. Photography by its very nature takes life out of context. By putting a frame around a scene or object it is giving a directive to the viewer to “look here!” In so doing it is implied that the image has meaning and purpose. At the same time the viewer is given no information as to what is outside the boundaries of the image. The photographer, by the decisions made in framing and composition, has made those things unknown and unknowable. This conscious act of inclusion and exclusion is essential to the interpretation of the photograph.

 

In some ways I think of the images in this series as having been discovered and curated just as much as created. The 'creation' comes from being open to seeing the drama and beauty in the ordinary and everyday objects which surround us but are usually ignored. By isolating the subject they remove context and through lighting and focus direct attention to the gesture, movement and intricate detail which allows viewers to immerse themselves in the large scale prints made possible by high resolution photography.

 

The LatinMemento Mori (Remember that you must die) is a theme that has been used in art since the Middle Ages. It is most often associated with symbols representing life, the passage of time and death: objects to spur a contemplation on mortality, the fragility of life and, as a corollary, the folly of vanity. For me these images of dead and dying flowers, in recognizing the ephemeral nature of the subject matter, are the perfect embodiment of this esthetic. In my adaptation of this theme I have expanded it to also encompass the dignity and even the beauty of the transition through life's final stages. In a perfect bouquet one bloom is virtually indistinguishable from the next, but as they die each stem is transformed and reveals its unique personality. To these images we can ascribe meaning: some are melancholy, some vulnerable, some are proud and some exude vitality. Through gesture and form they become compositionally intriguing and metaphorically rich. They refute the idea that beauty should be defined solely by youth and perfection and assert that with age comes character and grace.