Painting "Shifting Geography of a Jailhouse Floor" by Hunter Madsen

"Shifting Geography of a Jailhouse Floor"


 
TITLE - ""Shifting Geographies of a Jailhouse Floor"
WHERE - Serpentine reflections of overhead lighting at a suburban hardware store, La Mesa, California (2016)


Counterfactual titling, such as is used here, is another device that can pique viewer interest in an evocative and plausible narrative of "what the photo means." As the viewer double-checks the source information, artful titling also underscores the unbridgeable chasm between whatever "reality" may have stood before the camera, on the one hand, and what the photo as art object actually is, or chooses to represent, on the other.  Whereas viewers have little trouble grasping that a painting is a contrived image - not "the real thing" - they struggle more to remember that a photograph is not even the tiniest bit more authentic... and that this proviso does not negate the presentation's power as art, only as documentation.