Mariah Hamilton


"Found" (2014) 

What has happened to the 35mm snapshot? What happens when these photos are forgotten or lost over time? How has technology changed the way we experience the photograph today? I collect abandoned 35mm film rolls, which have been forgotten and left behind in cameras donated to second hand stores. Images that I develop and print from the film rolls become the central players in new work. These materials act as stand ins for lost photographs within a lost medium.

I am drawn to amateur set-ups found in yard sales, online “sell-it-yourself” photography, and store window displays. I arrange found consumer materials into still lifes while I incorporate these aspirational techniques. Each image in the series is made up of an assortment of forgotten 35mm photographs and quirky objects, such as clothes pegs, reflective papers, for sale stickers, and plastic packaging. I am interested in blurring the line between sculpture and photography through humorous and quirky arrangements. As they pose in miniature sculptural arrangements, the photographs bend, tip over, rip, fold, clip together and are rephotographed on brightly coloured backdrops. I want to seduce and destabilize my idea of what a photograph is and can be.

I am drawn to how the materiality of the physical photograph contrasts with the immateriality of the online image. I physically manipulate my forgotten materials as a reverence to the immateriality in the surface that we experience in contemporary online image viewing culture. Ironically, my obsession and love of the 35mm photograph leads me to cut up, rip, glue, fold, light and do anything it takes to make its materiality all the more evident. Photographs and materials rephotographed on a Photoshop canvas as a backdrop investigate the physical and non physical space a photograph is manipulated on. Photographs in brightly colour matched and lacquered frames optically call attention to the photograph’s physicality. This effort is amplified by the extension of the colour matched frame to the ground of the photograph itself, suggesting a solid, minimalist object which is housed. By employing collage and other assemblage techniques, I am dealing with the interconnection between 2D and 3D that is becoming more and more relevant as technology and the internet advances. This series offers as an embracement and reconnection to the lost past of the physical 35mm snapshot in relation to the digital image viewing culture that we live in today.

Using Format