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Once Removed

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The series Once Removed consists of antique portraits in which the subject is missing. In all of the images, only the photographer’s backdrop and chair–next to which the sitter once stood–remain. The photographs are now about the absence of the subject rather than about the subject itself. Hopefully the viewer ponders the removal of the person and concludes, given the obvious age of the portraits, that the subject is dead. “By giving me the absolute past of the pose… the photograph tells me death in the future… I shudder… over a catastraphe which has already occurred.” These words from Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida describe how I feel when I view a photograph as old as the ones used in this series. I feel a connection to the person, followed by a dread of what is to come, followed by a sense of grief at what has already transpired. The removal of the subject–who is very much alive in the photograph–forces the photograph to more truthfuly depict the present reality in which the subject is no longer alive.
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  • The series Once Removed consists of antique portraits in which the subject is missing. In all of the images, only the photographer’s backdrop and chair–next to which the sitter once stood–remain. The photographs are now about the absence of the subject rather than about the subject itself. Hopefully the viewer ponders the removal of the person and concludes, given the obvious age of the portraits, that the subject is dead. “By giving me the absolute past of the pose… the photograph tells me death in the future… I shudder… over a catastraphe which has already occurred.” These words from Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida describe how I feel when I view a photograph as old as the ones used in this series. I feel a connection to the person, followed by a dread of what is to come, followed by a sense of grief at what has already transpired. The removal of the subject–who is very much alive in the photograph–forces the photograph to more truthfuly depict the present reality in which the subject is no longer alive.

  • Once Removed #1
  • Once Removed #2
  • Once Removed #3
  • Once Removed #4
  • Once Removed #5

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