Upon the invention of the photograph, it was said: From this day on, painting is dead! But I maintain that all of the visual arts are inextricably linked and that photography is just one of all the media available for human mark-making. Going back to our cave dwelling ancestors, we all have felt the need to depict, represent and present a vision.
My photo training at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY (thanks to such photo-luminaries as Nathan and Joan Lyons, Syl Labrot and John Wood) instilled in me the Big Tent approach to the medium: photography is not just pictures “of something,” but a powerful and multifaceted set of expanding tools that allow us to quite literally “make our mark.”
The history of photography bears me out on this. Look, for instance, at the work of Man Ray and Lázló Moholy-Nagy. Both painters and photographers, these trailblazers surely taught us that photography was not limited to simple representation (although we all know there is no such thing, every photograph has a bias and a point of view). And think of the long and awe-inspiring career of Robert Rauschenberg, combining photo material with painting and drawing that expanded our vision in ways and waves still felt throughout the art world.
In the last 10 years there has been a huge democratization of technology. $100,000 Iris printers were replaced by ever-cheaper and more lightfast inkjet printers accessible to all who wanted to get out of the chemical soup and into the digital darkroom. While once I would send off tiny files to out-of-state printers with expensive Iris printers, only to receive unsatisfying replicas of my original intentions, I came to appreciate and require the homegrown control I could achieve by doing my own printing. The Marbles Series was printed on an Epson 7600, and that trusty machine has now been supplanted by the refrigerator-sturdy Epson 7900.