|Sex, Death and the History of Photography|
|Written by Karl Baden|
Sex, Death and the History of Photography is a series of photomontages from the 1980's, done using traditional methods of darkroom and collage. Back then, I described the work as follows:
The modus operandi is simple and straightforward: using an x-acto knife and dry-mounting tissue, I combine and re-photograph images from a single photographer or images by two or more photographers, creating a pastiche which, visually and/or metaphorically, comments on the original photographs, photographers and, perhaps, their connection to larger issues in photography and culture. My choice of images is inspired by a variety of factors, including historical compatibility, cultural significance and visual effect. Sometimes I combine photographs because I'm not quite sure what their cumulative effect will be until combined. Other times, it is simply that, visually, the combination gives me a jolt or makes me smile. Humor, perhaps satire, seems always to be a part of the way I work, a reflection of my sensibilities. Issues regarding the history of photography and its relation to culture are more complex. I try to allow the work an open-endedness that goes beyond both the joke and the cultural issues raised.
It is natural for me, as a photographer, to be aware (sometimes painfully) of the ability to sensationalize, dominate and possess which the camera offers its operator and audience. To a degree, then, these pictures are the result of my own efforts to understand the push and pull of those circumstances. However, I don't pretend to offer solutions. If I did possess the answers, I probably would not be compelled to generate the work.