Flowers of the Forest, 2010
My work here plays with ideas about reality, illusion, and the truth of imagery. We have all been taught to “believe” photographs; as evidence of what we used to look like, as corroboration that we are of legal age, or as proof in a court of law substantiating events. I have presented this “aura of truth” surrounding photography as the basis for this work. By creating and presenting images that strongly reference the history of photography going back over one hundred and seventy years, my images give the impression of being straightforwardly depicted landscapes. But they are not actual existing landscapes at all. They originate as elements of a computer war game, and I have appropriated them and recontextualized them, also mixing them in with landscapes I have taken at actual historic battlefields. The use of high grain photographic film to capture the image from the monitor softens the images enough to make them believable, while leaving a sufficient number of digital artifacts to hint at the image origin. I use the same film in making pictures from actual sites in order to blur the distinction between the two types of images.
The title of the project is taken from the title of an old song traditionally played by a single piper at the memorial services of soldiers of the United Kingdom and Canada. The song refers to the Battle of Flodden in 1513 between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England. Although the original words are lost to time, the melody was recorded and new words added in the 18th century. As a Lament the song brings up thoughts of loss and mourning, and the question becomes, "Do we give any more thought to the soldiers who fell at the Somme, or Gettysburg, or Fei River than we do of the death of these pixel men and horses in the pixel grass by the pixel trees under a pixel sky?"
The prints in this series are large, 40" x 30", on matte paper in a series of 5 copies each.