Experiments in Social Fiction

Traditionally, photography offers evidence, or fact. Occasionally even definitive proof. Perhaps it’s been a while since it showed us anything with such certainty. The digital incarnation of photography is too malleable, too easily manipulated. And while this may be the case, a photograph is still an object that implies authenticity. The use of digital manipulation in this work should be, if the picture succeeds, imperceptible. It should be so because all elements of the image are ‘true’. They are all ‘there’. Any incongruities between elements within an image are a result of the passing of time. Digital manipulation simply allows elements from different moments to occupy the same image. The scenarios depicted are being manipulated from the moment the camera comes out of the box: from the moment I arrange myself, the camera and the subject in front of it; by the way the subject responds to our presence and that of the camera. Digital post production is simply a way of rearranging pixels, it is not a way of rearranging the expression on someone’s face. Whilst I wouldn’t want to expressly break down how each picture was made, the viewer becomes aware of the game being played: after all, most of the images are improbable; some are impossible. I like to think that these images have as much in common with cinema as still photography- the end result has as little to do with the moment of its creation as possible. There is no attempt here to describe any kind of ‘real’ narrative. In fact the opposite is the case: any kind of conventional narrative or reading of the image is contradicted by the improbability of what is being portrayed. These are not pictures of things, these are pictures of ideas. I’m not saying this thing happened, I’m saying this idea happened. And this is the photograph to prove it.