Appropriated Figure-Grounds is a series of images probing the relationships between news media and global figures of power. These images were created by appropriating online news photographs of the back of political and corporate leaders as well as photographs of their hands during news conferences. The images of photographic equipment were sourced from product photographs. Created through digital means, the aesthetics of some of these images incorporate artifacts such as flash-lit dust and/or precipitation, camera shake and motion blur, that are often associated with low light film-based flash photography. The artifacts, that are the points of failure in the representation-making process ironically provide evidence of indexicality and therefore heightens the truth-value of the images. Thereby, these images pretend to be straight photographs. However, closer investigation reveals that these photographs are not only composited but also have digital artifacting in certain cases.
There is a history of artists hijacking and thereby complicating the aesthetics that result from photographic technology. This series specifically relate to Gerhard Richter’s series of paintings 18. Oktober 1977 based on photographs of the Baader-Meinhof Group- not only in their aesthetics, but also in their investigation of representation and power. What does it mean to produce and propagate photographs of global political and corporate leaders? What does it mean for the consumers of these images to have access to representation of these leaders? Does access to these photographic representations have any connection to the political and economic representation and in turn agency for consumers and political supporters?