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Riddle of The Echo

There is a certain psychology involved with photography. Photos touch that part of the brain associated with memories and dreams, and, in so doing, spark a cascade of allusions and connections in the mind of the viewer. This is the source of photography’s great symbolic power. Each photograph, as it is viewed, is unconsciously adopted by the viewer as a memory or dream and embedded in his or her mind. This makes photography, more than other visual arts, especially suited to a study of the unconscious mind.


The unconscious communicates in symbols. It is the place from which come dreams and myths. Compared to the thinking, conscious mind it is irrational and incomprehensible. The Riddle of The Echo is an exploration of the enigmatic symbols of the unconscious. The project attempts to approximate the presentation of dream-like symbols from the unconscious to the conscious. And just as a dictionary illuminates and illustrates a single word, so The Riddle of The Echo illustrates a single symbol, as opposed to full dreams.


Each image consists of an object or small grouping of objects on a simple bisected plane. This is the presentation of the symbol by the unconscious. Consider what you would imagine the meaning to be if you woke up and this was the image you remembered from your dream. Perhaps it is a good omen. Perhaps it is the key to finding your way through some great problem with which you have been struggling. Perhaps it just makes you happy to contemplate it. In this way these images become magic talismans warding off evil and helping you on your path.


The questions of the relationship of the rational, thinking mind to the irrational, dreaming mind have been examined and thought about for the entire existence of mankind. The old stories, myths, and legends survive because they speak directly to this relationship. Therefore the inspiration for this project has come from myths and legends from around the world, poetry, literature, the rantings of western mystery societies, and pop culture. The objects photographed are either found objects from thrift stores and street gutters or are paper cut outs from found sources. All images were shot on my beat up kitchen table on 4x5 film. The films were developed in a Metol formula I mix myself and printed in my darkroom on silver gelatin paper. These compositions are not digitally manipulated in any way.