Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma, United States
The project "Average Subject / Medium Distance" is a meta commentary on the rules and tools of photography inspired by the once-ubiquitous “Kodaguide.” From about 1940 and into the mid-1980s, Kodak produced hundreds of thousands of these portable paper guides meant to help photographers take better pictures. They are peculiar and contradictory objects. On the one hand, they are visually inviting with bright colors and well-intentioned instructions that promise desirable results. But, on the other hand, they are extremely dense with information and require significant attention to comprehend and apply in the moment, thereby acting against their intended function. I wanted to see what lay beneath their recommendations, so I collected as many guides as possible from as many eras as I could find, and photographed each one individually. I then digitally covered up all the example images, technical numbers, and explanatory text by copying and pasting dust and scratches from the objects themselves. Rather than use Photoshop to seamlessly erase this information, I deliberately left obvious traces of my intervention. In each composition, only a single word remains in its original location — correct — light — shadow — appropriate — desire — etc. These words are intended as springboards for interpretation that point not only to the conventions of the medium, but also to the emotional underpinnings embedded in the act of image making.