The Gilded Life (2011 - 2014)
The ornate frames and elegant French text are an ironic façade for the subversive messages etched onto the glass - simultaneously a symbol of beauty and tragedy. Mirroring the constant efforts in my photographic practice to create photographs of the unphotographable, such as photographing historical events that occurred before the advent of photography, and the illusion created by the propaganda that fueled the French Revolution, Benjamin was correct in his mistrust of the illusions of perception, a worthy exercise in Cartesian doubt.
“Paris is a city of mirrors.” (Walter Benjamin) Everywhere you look, from the famous hall of mirrors at the palace of Versailles to even the most lowbrow brasseries, mirrors distort your perception, creating a false illusion of depth, reflecting the outside on the inside and providing passer-byers with a continual sense of self-awareness. This realistic-seeming representation is captured and immortalized in the invention of the photograph. However, “Benjamin distrusts the mirror – the reflection in shop windows of the streets – and suspects any assertion that seeing is believing.” (Esther Leslie)