Imaginary Wars, statement

(work in progress)

As a child I loved guns. I invented storylines and recited narratives from TV and films. I constructed detailed wars with imaginary foes lurking around the corners. The world was a playground for warfare. Weapons could always be found with any available object or body part. Fantastical characters could be fought through a narrative borne of the imagination. These narratives were remixes of the mood and culture surrounding me.

In Imaginary Wars, the images are constructed stories that work to blend a documentary Neorealist quality with the scripted actions of the cinematographic. This blending creates a photographic truth that is both a memory and a performance for the camera. The actors and the landscapes share a resemblance to the characters and landscapes of my early childhood in New York City. In these images, my memories are ensconced into an apocalyptic world where trash infests the streets, weeds choke vacant lots, and resources are scarce. The future is unknown.

The settings include wide landscapes that dwarf the child actors within each image. Children appear small in this big world, swallowed by the larger landscape of adults. They play games in which they imagine themselves in adult roles that they may not fully grasp. Their smallness contrasts with the expanse of the landscape.

The contemporary narrative revolves around a common experience. My childhood memories are not unique, but when elaborated, this personal viewpoint becomes visually charged through the process of staging and dramatization. Especially given the recent events in Ferguson, Cleveland and New York, we as a culture need to open up a wider dialogue on our relationship to guns and violence.