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Ephemeral City


Digital photography introduced us to the throw-away image.  No longer bridled by the cost of film, we shoot endlessly at every mundane activity of our life.  We delete those which we do not like and most of the ones we save live for eternity in our hard drive never being committed to paper. 

This series of prints casts the idea of the digital print in a new (old) light.  Starting with a quick "snapshot" taken with a digital camera of a candid moment in urban life, the image is printed using the earliest form of image reproduction:  the relief block.   The pixels are manipulated on the computer and then drawn by hand on a linoleum block.  The block is then reductively carved with tools and printed using a wooden spoon, carved and printed and so on by until a multiple color image develops on the sheet of traditional Hosho paper.  The process is painstaking and slow.  Each edition takes one month to complete.  The original digital image was captured in a millisecond.  The moment, which at first seemed casual, becomes monumental when funneled through this process. 

By spending countless hours drawing, carving and printing these images, the moment that was originally photographed becomes elongated.  This "freezing" of time is similar to how our memory works:  a "snapshot" of our life which we want to recall is conjured to the screen in our mind and replayed as we savor it again and again.  In this way we can expand even the briefest of instances into an enduring image. The creation of these works has a cathartic effect; that which was precious and longed for becomes repetitive and burdensome.  Each print takes that which was originally a snapshot of a friend in a familiar setting and transforms it into a stale, over-played tune. 

      When I started this series I had just moved away from my home of 8 years:  Chicago. It began as an attempt to preserve my life, friends, and places there.  Two and a half years later the series proves to be a way of letting go of that life rather than holding on to it. 

Reductive linocut on Hosho paper

10" x 13"

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