27 Hotel Rooms is a photographic essay, a collection of stories retrieved from the Internet, stories of hotel rooms that hold some significance historically, socially or culturally. It is my fictional reenactment of physical space that may collectively hold some echo of trauma long dormant in the psychological confines of this newly reconstructed space.
This body of work investigates the ideas of relationship, loss and scale. This is accomplished by creating fictional architectural models in miniature representing a place of some significance.
I am interested in the idea of expanding the temporal and spatial boundaries that are inherent in the medium of photography. Learning to incorporate the language of architecture and the architectural model allows for the investigation of relationships between open and closed space. I am exploring the idea of site geometries, histories and traces.
The stories are gathered from the Internet; they are my jumping off point to creating the visual spaces. The models are built in relative scale based on the single point of perspective of the camera position and lens choice. Then photographed with a 4X5 view camera with a traditional landscape format. This technique allows the viewer to experience them in a cinematic context, where the scale and proportions of the photographs themselves command their own presence.
According to Jean Baudrillard’s order of the Simulacra; Reality itself has begun merely to imitate the model, which now precedes and determines the real world. Media is determining what we think reality should be.
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All images used with permission from Anna Wahlgren.
Things I found On My Street
I live out on the western edge of Denver where the push/pull effect of suburban sprawl and the natural or (wild) ecosystems are constantly manipulating and maneuvering around each other. So on my daily walks with my dogs I find interesting objects in varying degrees of detritus.
This is for who is left to carry on.
A survivors guide to the end of life.
In Pursuit of a Father is my personal investigation into the question of nature versus nurture, love versus obligation. It is my story of tracing the steps backwards to the intersection of where my earliest recollections of family and father were first realized.
I am the product of two men, my biological father and my stepfather. My biological father extricated himself from my life before I even knew who he was. My stepfather stepped in shortly thereafter and has remained a constant male influence and father figure ever since. This project is my attempt to decipher photographically each man’s influence on my life.
No image of self can exist unless taken from the perspective outside us. So we are constantly reinforcing our vision of ourselves—our true “I”—in the reflections of others.
In the reflection of these two people, I’m actually looking for myself.
And in the reflection of these two men, my fathers, I am investigating their emotional, ethical and spiritual backgrounds in order to search for my own unique and individual place.
The foundation of this project was formulated in the set of pictures taken at 7050 Raritan Street, where the memory of my two fathers intersected in a moment of change. My earliest memories of my childhood are bound up in the rooms of that tiny brick house. All of them are filled only with the presence of my mother, and my two sisters.
I have no recollection of my biological father ever being in the home. He had been deployed to Vietnam in 1968 just before my second birthday and never returned to the house. My stepfather never lived with us in the house. When he married my mother the decision was made that we would move into his house with his two sons. So it was important that I take both fathers back to the original point of change and begin the project from the initial corner of emotional disconnect and work outward. The empty house functioned as a metaphor for one father’s physical absence in my life and one father’s emotional distance created between us. Trace memories of this space from my childhood continue to affect my relationship with these two men.
To me, the house has always been a space of misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and misjudgments and missed opportunities. If I was truly to reshape my relationships with my fathers it was going to have to begin in this space of physical and emotional sparseness.
What interested me in creating this project was how photography functioned as a tool or bridge to bring my two fathers and myself together so we could create a shared experience. Regardless of the potential outcome of a visible record of the photographic experience, the physical act of taking pictures has been a valuable foundation for erecting the framework for a meaningful relationship with these two men.