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Kansas

Kansas: Low Resolution, 2015
Artist’s Statement

These images are extremely low-resolution photographs of Kansas. More specifically, they are small sets of pixels extracted from digitally scanned photos taken in Kansas between 1970 and 1991.

On a personal level, the source images are reminders of my youth in Wichita and the open landscapes of Kansas: throwing snowballs with my brother in our front yard, sailing on Cheney Lake, driving out west during college road trips.

On a formal level, they yield a collective color palette from which to draw these impressions. While the images have been down-sampled to a point where the external referent has been thoroughly obscured, it may be inaccurate to categorize them as pure abstraction. Though they no longer refer to the pictorial character of landscape, they do speak to the specific color and quality of light present in one moment, in one particular place on Earth.

They are straight photographs. They have not been altered, manipulated, collaged or retouched. The color has not been modified, the contrast curves have not been reshaped, and the pixels have not been re-arranged. They are, essentially, heavily cropped versions of the source photographs.

As the photography industry rushes to reach the next mega-pixel plateau, these images move in the opposite direction. They address the underlying architecture of digital photography (a far more rigid structure than its chemical antecedent.) And while a nine-pixel photograph may render a decidedly abstract version of its subject, it remains a photograph: a record of light, in one place, in one time.

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