Speciation

2016-2017


 

This work uses x-rays to explore the micro-evolution of cameras and is a metaphor about the limits of evolution. While form and media may have changed, the camera is still a camera: a tool to create images by capturing photons of light. Today’s sophisticated digital cameras look and operate far differently than the first cameras of the nineteenth century, however the essentials have not changed. The photographer points a contraption with a lens towards the subject to encode its likeness on a storage medium, be it film or digital sensor. And this contraption has been manufactured in many wonderful and clever designs, the complexity usually hidden inside. While making these x-rays, I have been surprised and astonished by what I found inside the cameras. The lens, when imaged from the side, contain a multi-element train of perfectly shaped glass forms. And although I have heard them turning but never saw them, gears and cogs are revealed.

Speciation is the process where new species can arise when populations are re-productively isolated. The can be due to random mutations and natural selection, or hybridization between closely related species. This process of speciation has been documented by many and is difficult to deny. Many insist that this is indeed evidence of evolution in action—given enough time this same process has given rise to all forms of life on earth. And many also insist that this process can indeed produce species and variation within species, but claim this is the limit of evolution—no one has ever seen a dog produce a non-dog. So, to close the loop—a camera is still a camera, though tremendous diversity exists.

In quite another sense, this project is an homage to the cameras I have owned, used, or handled. The tools of the trade, having faithfully imaged for decades, have themselves been imaged. The resulting images align with an inner desire to probe those unseen spaces and realms I sense exist, but do not observe with my eyes.

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