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Facetime Photogrammetry  •  2019

Our interactions with each other increasingly occur within seemingly flat, optical portals. Like any apparatus that allows us to interface with the world in new and novel ways, the utterly ubiquitous, digital screen carries its own distortions and obfuscations. This series of portraiture uses a hand crafted parody of the ever-present portals to frame and physicalize what is lost or altered in translation as we remove ourselves further and further from corporeal existence.

In these portraits, the lenses rest on top of a flatbed scanner. They act as a photo-booth in which the subject must press their face directly upon the glass to create an in-focus image. This artifact of the process mocks our closeness to our devices and the awkwardness of video-chatting angles. It harkens back to the first permanently-fixed photographic process, the photogram. Referred to as “photogenic drawings” by early pioneer, Henry Fox Talbot, these silver-nitrate drawings were created by laying translucent plants beneath a sheet of glass, partially obstructing light from exposing a treated piece of paper.

 

Contemporary Tablets and other portals into the abyss employ a very different type of photogram. In the digital age, Photogrammetry refers to the science of studying and applying data from photographic images. Two of the many applications of this field are constructing three-dimensional models of our world from two dimensional images and using facial recognition software to amalgamate facsimile personas of each of us. By participating in any “smart” or “connected” technology, we automatically surrender our distorted, filtered likeness over to the Cloud, constantly feeding it more data as it constructs a multi-dimensional topography of its users.

 

This series of photograms willingly submits its subject's likeness to the Cloud: pre-distorted and physically glitched, as tongue-in-cheek caricature of the biographic portraits being built by the data we leave behind.

Left Image is a selfie

Right Image is of Najah Alboushi

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