By utilizing digital interventions, unknown historical studio portraits are transformed from mundane, to surreal. Some subjects appear to be floating, or disassembled in a bizarre manner. The new images created reflect their current loss of identity, and are visually reminiscent of 19th century spirit photography.

 

Photo-Phenomenon is inspired by the severed connections between these pictures and their families, which have left them to be inherited by strangers. Without the family they were once connected to, these images have become overlooked and forgotten objects, rather than cherished memorabilia.

 

In creating this work, various manipulations were used to absolve these antiquated subjects of their former pictorial identities, presenting them as coffee toned cyanotype prints. Most of the images collected live on longer than the person pictured. With so many images already proliferating in our culture, especially in the digital age, this series addresses the past and present, simultaneously, by using digital interventions to give them a new updated identity.

 

I have always been interested in salvaging remnants of the past. As a child, I enjoyed searching for and gathering fossils, bones, and other artifacts from prior times. When becoming a photographer, I progressed to collecting antique photographic images. I have a particular empathy for these objects that is akin to my own experiences with lost familial connections over multiple generations.

 

 

© 2020 by Alivia Magaña