The evidence of our nation's priorities, passions and personality is all around us: our quaint neighborhoods and congested highways, colorful boutiques and collapsing inner cities, towering skyscrapers and sprawling parking lots. All human landscape has cultural meaning. Because we rarely consider our constructions as evidence of our priorities, beliefs and desires, the testimony our landscape tells is perhaps more honest than anything we might intentionally present. Our built environment is society's autobiography writ large.
American Splendor photographically explores our curious culture as expressed by our vernacular landscape. I imagine myself an archaeologist (or anthropologist) carefully cataloguing the fragments of a lost civilization. These images, all real and authentic, generally appear to be single moments, perhaps a thousandth of a second in duration. They are not.
Reality is more complex than a single moment can reveal. We each create our own personal tapestries of memory by assembling a myriad of individual threads: the smell of French fries, the sound of conversation, the sight of dappled colors. Similarly, I create my images from many discrete photographs, weaving them together to form a single image. The complexity of these composites is not always obvious.
Each of these photographs is constructed of between dozens and hundreds of photographs. The resulting images are designed to be printed on a monumental scale to heighten the immersive quality and reveal otherwise hidden details. Some of these scenes are shot over an afternoon. Some are shot over several hours, some over several years.