When a Picture is Worth a Different Thousand Words

by Gavin W Sisk

Gavin W Sisk

Doll 41


I started playing years ago with the purely human quality of anthropomorphization.  In particular, I’ve always been interested in inducing an anthropomorphic response in a viewer and then disrupting the response or having it fall away altogether.  If I do my job right (or am lucky), what remains for the viewer is the structure or mechanism of the effect.  This is the actual subject.
I get the ball rolling using posing and lighting techniques on subjects having built-in qualities I think I can control.  I exploit these subjects’ potential for looking alive, but then disturb that potential by exposing props and defects in the subject.  What I’m shooting for are certain qualities of confusion rather than a simple ‘gotcha’.  These confusions are springboards for our ability to add living qualities to inanimate objects and are foundational to human culture.  What’s difficult for me is bringing subjects to the edge of pain, happiness, ecstasy, even special qualities of human empty-headedness, without leaving the viewer with a sense that either the subject or themselves have been robbed of something or been unfairly treated.  The images should be mirrors of us.  I could use this human facility to make cheap shots, but I won’t.  This is a unique facility we humans should rejoice in owning.


March 24, 2013




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