Homage to the Chair

As an ongoing project, I am photographing the human form in chairs. By isolating elements of the chair, I hope to call upon the viewer to see the obvious in a different way. What is clearly an image of a chair becomes our instinctive self-projection. A detail of a chair translates into our human form.

Research confirms that a portion of the brain is wired to recognize the human face/form in random visual representations and in art. In the simple but sensuous lines and shapes of the chair, we may project a human recognition. The chair, in essence, becomes the viewer. It is with an economy of line and form that I hope to trigger this identification.

My intention is to use the least amount of information to convey the essence of an object or an idea in my work. The edges of the frame define meaning. The photograph no longer reads as a detail of an object that continues beyond the edges but becomes its own reality.

The title of this project is a play on Joseph Albers “Homage to the Square” and the root of the word “homage.”

Symbolism of the White Hat

The idea of the white hat as a symbol came to me as an epiphany. While travelling through a small village in Vietnam, I was engulfed by a procession of people wearing white. It became clear that it was a funeral and I was struck by the meaning of the white mourning clothes.

I have found that the white hat has long been associated with rituals, rites of passage, identity, virtue, protection and service. From a myriad of times and cultures, they have carried deep, powerful meaning. They connect to the sun, halo/aura, the infinite shape of the circle, and purity of the color white. In these images, I want to re-present an important, seemingly universal understanding of the human psyche and experience through the symbolism of the white hat.

Some examples of the head coverings I am photographing are:
• hats that identify a group or occupation
• prayer hats: link between heaven & earth, purification, goodness
• rituals and rites of passage or status
• crowns/coronas with some hats having multiple meanings and associations.

Beyond the visual image, primal vestiges of meaning are a common bond. These projects are important to me because they connect us to our humanity. In a world and time with so much to divide us, I hope these images might serve as a sign and reminder of what unites us.