KITCHEN THINGSThis series started innocently enough. (It’s working title, incidentally, was The Things They Used.) First of all, I was interested in the form of the objects. I thought that by isolating the utensils from their normal environment, and either enlarging or miniaturizing their images, I could show the beauty of the forms themselves. In addition to honoring these humble objects, I thought their strong graphic presence would make interesting decorator items in a kitchen or elsewhere.
The series also seemed to relate to my other work. I often photograph places devoid of people in order to capture something of the spirit of those who normally inhabit those spaces – to reveal the nature of the people who live there by showing what I’ve referred to elsewhere as stage settings after the players had exited. It seemed a logical progression to focus on singular objects from those environments. If the images were successful, something of the spirit of those who had used the utensils might come through. But then an odd thing happened.
The objects, in addition to revealing something of themselves and the people who used them, often revealed something totally other. They became metaphors with connotations in wholly different realms. A vegetable peeler took on aspects of a prehistoric fertility fetish. A slotted spoon became a stylized tree. A garlic press swam along like a made-up sea monster in an octopus’s garden. What was going on here?
As the series of photographs progressed, so did a series of short essays—each a kind of meditation on a particular image. Many of these images and essays have appeared or will appear in TABLE Magazine. More information about TABLE can be found atwww.tablemagazine.com. The majority of the original photographs are approximately 10” x 10” carbon-pigment images, printed on 13” x 17” archival Somerset Velvet unenhanced watercolor paper. Some images have been enlarged to 2 foot square for special exhibitions; others have been combined in smaller formats in groups of threes.