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Valerie Pfaff


I have always worked in a multiple image format beginning with my black and white work in the dark room and continuing to the present day with the use of computer software. The idea of multiple images put together to express other facets of this reality or to create another reality is not new. It began with Picasso and was introduced into the medium of photography by David Hockney and Jerry Ueslmann. It is this tradition which has informed my work. By combining dozens of my photos into one image I am interested in expanding the language of photography beyond recording the world around us and creating new interpretations of what we see. This use of digital manipulation allows me to dig more deeply into the fabric of our internal and external world as well as to create a sense of mystery which cannot be expressed in words or with the use of a single image.

          After working for several years with images of the natural world I turned to photographing interiors. The series “Interior Spaces” began when I took hundreds of photographs of a Victorian mall in Boscombe, England, which I visit often because my father lives nearby. Later, when I visited artist Finola Graham at her extraordinary house in the west of Ireland, the project became more focused on the idea of using home environments as vehicles for biographical studies. I have since photographed in the homes of many friends and acquaintances, a number of them artists, and portraits have emerged, some of which include an image of the home owner and some of which do not. The spaces in this series do not physically exist as such but are composites created from many images that do exist. For centuries artist have placed their subjects in a home environment but as I construct new interpretations of these people’s living spaces I attempt to create an experience which is the equivalent to reading between the lines. Here a person can be present more than once and the rules of perspective and spatial relationships can be changed. Here there is a constant effort to look beneath the surface of what we see and to question what we perceive to be real.

The majority of photographers working today use digital manipulation in some way. Sometimes that manipulation is evident and sometimes not. In my work I am constantly asking to what degree should the manipulation be evident and my response is always changing. Painters have for decades had the freedom to improvise. Photographers, not so much. In my work I use pixels as paint and technology as the paintbrush and the artwork is a constructed reality created with pixels.                                   


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