Since 1975, I have been using my camera as a tool for gathering specimens from the world at large. Nothing, I swiftly discovered, comes pure to the eye. The mere act of perceiving quickly covers even the most commonplace things in a swaddling of contexts, associations and metaphors. And when photographed, even the heaviest, most mundane objects lose their materiality in favor of the particular meanings we wrap around them. I try to stay alert, especially to what is wrapped around the most familiar things.
In 2001, I began collaborating with Craig Dennis. Together, we aspire to subtly reshape instinctive ways of seeing; in particular, ways of seeing photographs. By recording uncanny instances of various subjects, our work exposes the psychological and cultural mechanisms that compel the mind to find broader meaning beyond straightforward depiction. While our approach does rely on the camera’s recognized faithfulness of representation, we try to turn that simple documentary function on itself by releasing unexpected or remarkable imagery from common things.
Susan Eder, Entropy in Cinnamon Swirl (Chaos, Simplicity), LightJet print on metallic paper, archivally mounted on 3/16 gatorboard, edition #1/7., Framed: 39 1/4 x 39 x 1 3/4in. (99.7 x 99.1 x 4.4cm); image: 37 1/4 x 37in. (94.6 x 94cm), Courtesy of the artists and Marsha Mateyka Gallery, Washington, D.C.