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Scratching the Surface:

Proto-narratives of Contemporary Life

This work may be seen as topographic, theatrical, and cinematic. The photographs reveal transient interruptions of unseen narratives, visible only in the pictures, discovered after the fact. Sometimes several captures have been combined to allow one moment to reveal itself.

The cinematic quality of interrupted time guides the viewer’s attention to characters who might otherwise have been unseen or overlooked. Then narrative tension invites a second look, and provokes a reconsideration of the importance of the people portrayed.

These are ordinary folks leading ordinary lives. They retain (at least) vestiges of the old notion of “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.” But under the surface, they feel undermined by pervasive distortion of the system for the benefit of the few and the powerful. They are adrift, cut off from former opportunities for growth, grasping at old structures in vain attempts to fight off contemporary instability. They are caught in the turbulent currents underlying today’s America.

 © 2019 David Howe Studio