Bite! magazine » Michael Mazzeo

The Keys To My First Car Were A Means Of Escape

For the series Rooted, I took to the road with my 8×10 camera and a portable darkroom in search of familiarity in the unfamiliar landscape of rural America. I made images using the wet collodion process, a nineteenth century process requiring the image to be exposed and developed on site. The collodion process is a process which renders light slowly and reveals the passing of time. Each photograph engages the viewer in a dialogue between the equal and opposite elements in nature. The title Rooted is, in itself, a paradox. My pilgrimage uproots me, but I find myself grounded in the familiar strangeness of nature.

I See Parallels To Patterns Or Events In My Own Life

In subtraction (2006-2008), I eliminated most of the original image information via the digital editing process. This absence of information, or void, does not show what is lost since the memory of it (in the photographic sense) is erased. By eliminating information, I not only draw attention to what is left but also to what is no longer there. It is up to the viewer to ‘fill in the blanks’.

Korean Clairvoyants Throw Rice To Foresee The Future

Korean clairvoyants throw rice to foresee the future. I throw the rice onto the photographic paper with similar intent. All of us are trying to predict what will happen in an unpredictable world. The act of throwing and tracing the rice transforms the image outside the window to a place where you pause to understand the past, be aware of the present and foresee the future. It is an attempt to be aware of being in the flow of time and space. In the process of creating my art, I begin to understand where I exist in that flow of time and space and hopefully, the viewer can understand where they exist as well.

Making These Drawings Allows Me To Touch The Light

My most recent work is a series of drawings in charcoal on paper of my own photographic imagery. Roads, tunnels, and the countryside viewed from a car window refer to traveling and passage, but the darker reversed tonalities convey mystery and the unknown. Sources of light and fireworks conserve their association with creativity and celebration, but simultaneously allude to burning, decay and destruction.

To Capture The Shadows Of Entire Trees

My series ‘Ultra Violet’ has its roots in three very different aspects of photography. In one sense the images you see are simply very large photograms–the same process that artists such as Anna Atkins, Man Ray, and Adam Fuss have used. Through the use of inexpensive light-sensitive materials, I am able to capture the shadows of entire trees. The size is limited only by time and the number of assistants I have on hand. Because of the size, my process also becomes a kind of performance, much like the pioneer landscape photographers of the 19th century with their portable darkrooms and ‘mammoth’ images.

Watching Smoke Come Out Of The Camera

The light of the rising sun was so focused and intense that it physically changed the film, creating a new way for me to think about photography.In this process the sun burns its path onto the film base. The sky, as a result of the extremely intense light exposure, reacts in an effect called solarization- a reversal of tonality. The resulting negative literally has a burnt hole in it with the landscape in complete reversal. The subject of the photograph (the sun) has transcended the idea that a photograph is simple a representation of reality, and has physically come through the lens and put it’s hand onto the final product.

Re-Editing Rhythm And Shape, Sampling Content

Today, we take a sharp turn, moving away from last week’s documentary photography, and welcome Michael Mazzeo as this week’s guest curator. Michael is presenting a week of outstanding fine art photographers, all of whom take landscapes as their subject. These artists present conceptual photography, some of them present abstract work. Today’s opening presentation by Georg Kuettinger resonates a song remixed by a DJ: re-editing its rhythm and shape, sampling its contents.