Some Things by Erik Dalzen

Published April 29, 2009 by Graham

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Each image in Erik Dalzen’s series Some Things displays a different household object (like the above-pictured Blender) photographed underneath, rather than on top of, a photo studio backdrop. It’s a simple idea that produces some startlingly eerie images. Bringing to mind issues of consumption, value and waste, Some Things contradicts the very function of product photography by obscuring the surfaces and brands of the objects it’s purporting to sell, leaving only their spatial dimensions for the consumer to ponder. Dalzen further touches upon these themes in Commodities, a project in which he auctions off illustrations and photos representing various marketable goods (Pez dispensers, vintage YSL dresses, human kidneys) on eBay.

But on another level, the project asks us to pay attention to a conceit of commercial photography that we’re ordinarily expected to disregard: the simulated space of the photo studio. What is the wrinkled, voluminous aesthetic of a muslin sheet supposed to suggest? Where, exactly, are objects shot on these backdrops supposed to be? If you were to turn your head just outside the frame, would there be a universe of stormy gray tie-dyed fabric stretching out infinitely, all Matrix-style? As the structures of virtual environments that we interact with every day become more complex and alienated from the organic world, our minds are evolving to understand space in an increasingly abstract sense. Some Things takes a step back to one of the earliest virtual spaces, the photography studio, and points out how weird it is.

See also: We Have Lasers!!!!!!!!, Sexy People

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