Cameras record whatever is in front of them. Modern cameras can automatically set exposure and focus, further updating Andy Warhol's claim that 'Photography is easy...you just push the button and the picture comes out.' Some photographers have gone to extraordinary lengths to compose magnificent images of clarity and resolve that stand in exalted requiem to the precise rendering of light and form. Other photographers have concentrated on how photographic images are used and interpreted. In the process they have engaged in a dialogue of social and moral critique that continues to influence the practice and interpretation of photography. This ameba-like nature of photography serves as an asset to artists searching for new means of expression and a drawback for some scholars, curators and historians hoping to cloak photography within the cannon of more traditional artistic mediums.
Casey Williams combines traditional picture making practices with experimental techniques to produce images that explore the random nature of luck and chance. During his residency at Light Work from July 15 - August 15, 1991 Williams continued work on a series of split-image photographs. The images were made in the camera by covering half of the lens and running the same roll of film through the camera twice. All of the images reproduced here were printed on a photo-linen material, stretched onto frames and hand painted with interference pigments. The interference pigments are translucent and contain titanium coated mica. The original prints shimmer in reflected light and change in radiance depending on the angle of view.
The arresting juxtapositions and luminous texture of these images create a surreal atmosphere, yet they depict ordinary objects and scenes. This playful connection of imagination and authenticity is reminiscent of dreams we don't fully understand, but that we believe are grounded in our experience and aspirations. Williams is a convincing guide in this leap of faith that encourages us to appreciate photography as a form of expression that is in constant transition.
Casey Williams lives in Austin, Texas.
Jeffrey Hoone (c)1991