When driving late at night, I listen to AM radio talk shows. In one of these shows, a caller had been preparing dinner, and when he took his potato out of the oven he sliced it to discover that there were glowing crosses in either half of the potato. This discovery placed the caller in a situation where he was unsure of the significance of the event as well as any ramifications it might have. The host of the broadcast offered some opinions, but what I found more fascinating were the responses of the other callers. These suggestions included everything from placing the potato halves on the eyes of the blind to cure blindness to slicing the potato into smaller slices to be sold on popular Internet auction sites. I would later document this found narrative as a photograph, titled Potato Manifestation.
This story and resulting photograph has led me to pursue an ongoing investigation of the paranormal stories, religious traditions, and secular mythology that is deeply rooted in the culture in which I live. In our culture, people construct systems of beliefs, and these beliefs dictate the way that they live their lives and how they respond to others around them. These systems of belief include both religious traditions and secular myths, which are often interwoven to create new combinations of thought.
Religious systems of belief are constructed around abstract spirituality, based on centuries of ever-evolving manuscripts, and then completed by the personal faith of the individual. To validate this faith, many look for an external sign to corroborate their beliefs, and these signs can take the form of miracles, apparitions, and relics. Miracles and apparitions are usually supernatural visions or paranormal events perceived by the individual, while a relic is a physical remain of a saint or holy person with spiritual significance attached to it. Relics can also be used to invoke blessings or be called upon to perform miraculous events. Many would discredit these occurrences, yet many also seek them out as a part of their devotion. My role as an artist is to collect these events and objects that could be used to validate certain belief systems, such the potato manifestation, and then to examine and catalog these phenomena as photographic documents. All of these photographs have their genesis in either oral or textual narrative and are presented through photographs to examine the nature of the photographic document as well as the relationship of photography to both objective and subjective truth.
This visual project is neither an affirmation nor a denial of my personal beliefs, rather an examination of the influences that have touched my life during the various stages of my development, continuing through the present day. This reconstruction of found narratives creates a space in which to examine my perceptions of them as well as their underlying connection to western culture.
Series produced from 2000 - 2003. All prints are Archival Pigment Prints, 16" x 12", framed 24" x 20".