With my project, Gæst, I am immersed in an unconventional strategy for producing images. I am meticulously culling and reinterpreting anonymous 19th century photographs that closely relate to my ongoing practice of constructing contemporary archetypal and visually haunting pictures.
Gæst means a stranger, visitor or guest. Gæst can also suggest a "ghost"—paralleling the context of this body of work—an illusory image formed in a telescope, camera, or other optical device, a suggestion or semblance… a revenant.
This renewed approach to image making assists me in recovering the ever intriguing past in a sea of fragmented and forgotten media. The resulting photographs are evocative examples of procuring the otherworldly from early quotidian ephemera.
Examples of phenomena that are particularly interesting to work with are the literal ghosts I am discovering on the backsides of the found photographs. As a result of being stacked away upon each other for untold years in albums, drawers and boxes over time, the antique photos have transferred from their fronts to the backs of others, ghosting the images and portraits of the originals from the unstable chemicals, photo papers and boards.
By restricting the format of each image with an identical border—an oval vignette reminiscent of antique Albumen and Cabinet photography portraits, I thoughtfully edit, collage and repurpose the found snapshots and ghosts—acknowledging, reconsidering and honoring each lost and forgotten moment. The process is a exercise in visiting the past to formally invite the lost images to be guests within my work, freeing semblances of settings, entities and ghosts within each new frame.