The photographs in this portfolio are made with a large format, film-based camera, placed very close to the subject, and printed to a large-scale. The subjects include objects, documents, photographs, and books stored on shelves, cases, and file cabinets as treasured historical artifacts. The outcome of this effort is to transform the usually small and often fragile remnants of the struggle for freedom and equality into images larger in scale than the original subjects. The content of the collections include vernacular documents such as a payment receipt for a bank loan, long held objects of special importance in the history of Eatonville, and various official materials that recall the transformations of a community over time.
This portion of the Manifest portfolio was supported by the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts through a grant from the Warhol Foundation. I am particularly grateful to Lonnie Graham for inviting me to participate in this project and for his thoughtful curatorial work on the exhibition and catalog. The photographs were made at the Orlando History Center, Smathers Library at University of Florida Gainesville, Rollins College Library, and Eatonville Historic Preservation.
I am increasingly interested in the residual power of the material remains of the past. The ability of objects to transcend lives, centuries, and ultimately millennia, offers a remarkable mechanism for folding time, bringing the past and the present into a shared space that is uniquely suited to artistic exploitation. While they are remarkable as visual evidence of lives and events, I also intend the viewer to consider this informal catalog as a survey of the choice to preserve and the motives for preservation.