Anna Leonowens Gallery
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Sammlung is the German word for “collection”.
A theme that has been running through my work for a number of years is a notion of “A Fetish with Empty”. What once started as an innocent endeavor – photographing at night because that was when I had time available – has morphed into a distinct desire to photograph spaces void of the people that normally occupy them. At times, this is a false presentation, as I have waited patiently for the people to vacate the shot I wish to take. Other times, I have the opportunity to explore the spaces alone. The later facilitates my artistic and personal desires more so.
Other photographers, such as Lynne Cohen and Candida Höfer, have photographed various empty architectural spaces. I trust my photographs separate themselves because they represent my passions and explorations. For instance, Sammlung reflects the deep-rooted passion I have for the biological sciences. As a teenager I visited the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium many times and there was an instinctual desire to return and photograph the various spaces.
Visually, the images presented are architecturally focused in their composition. Conceptually, many themes can be adopted. What is this distinct preoccupation to being alone and capturing a scene without people present? Without people present, what focus is there on the human ephemera still present? What historical lineage is there between the Wunderkammern (Curiosity Cabinets) of bygone European aristocrats and the public attractions we see today? Do zoos, aquariums and natural history museums serve their modern purpose of education? Are we humans still trying to collect the biggest, bestest, and rarest to distinguish ourselves as unique and special? What element of collection must I acknowledge as the photographer – both in what I amass during the shoot and how the work is later disseminated into other people’s collections?
I wish to thank the Roloff Beny Foundation and NSCAD University for the opportunity to live and photograph in Germany. The whole experience has been an amazing opportunity that has helped me develop my artistic pursuits.