Color Cue: Artist's Statement

Kalee Appleton


Spurred by the evolution of photography from analog-based to a predominately digital medium, my artistic research examines the materiality of photography through the enduring tradition of landscape photography. I approach my research with the intent of revealing the lasting yet shifting relationship between individuals and photography. Currently, I am exploring the objectivity of photographic, specifically photographic backdrops used in mainstream photography studios. The backdrops, purchased from used photography stores or purchased online from print on demand companies, consist of photographs of idealized landscapes and utopian worlds. Like many photographs throughout history, these objects force viewers to question truth and contemplate the mechanical nature of photography, as these backdrops pure purpose is to exist as a false contextual object in the aid of transporting a sitter to an idealized world. The formulaic imagery on these backdrops are often reminiscent of the residual visual artifacts of the 19th Century photographic sublime, consisting of locations akin to rugged mountain terrains or romanticized forest paths. The imagery produced to not only act as a supplemental scene to a portrait but exist to fulfill the desires of the commissioners and sitters of the portrait. To examine this relationship and objecthood, the photographic backdrop is transformed into something that it was never meant to be, a subject.