Since its inception, photography has been used as a tool to record and document the visual world. An illustration or painting is formed through strokes, a sculpture through hands of a creator –– a photograph is formed by the transmission of light. The hand of a camera operator is present, but only in framing a view and timing the moment of exposure. Technical process delivers the photograph.
Photographs are viewed with a technological faith that what is seen, once existed in the world. They are magic windows that draw us in by their sublime impression of reality. While the moment frozen in a photograph is undeniably of something in the world, the photograph is merely a tiny piece of that reality –– more a suggestion than story.
Photographs are often accompanied by captions to aid the viewer in contextualising what is seen. Occasionally there are none. These label-less photographs do not become empty vessels void of meaning, but responsibility for interpreting and forming meaning is transferred entirely to the viewer. Through a semiotic process that taps into a viewer’s knowledge and imagination, new meaning is brought to the image. Like a Roscharch test, each of us will see something different.
I am interested in photography’s ability to use visual fragments embedded in a photograph to suggest something of the past. How interventions with process, and disruptions of meaning can challenge our faith and tip the balance towards something of the imagination.
Working across photographic processes, creating new images and drawing upon the global archive of the photographic past –– largely glass and celluloid negatives, my work explores photography as a portal to a new reality –– something that utilises the fabric of our visual world to form cerebral possibilities, that perhaps exists as a universe parallel to our own.
Canadian born William Mokrynski is a visual artist with a lifetime of working with photography. He holds an MFA in photography from the Edinburgh College of Art, spent the early part of his career working as a photojournalist, architectural photographer, then creative director.
Since relocating to Europe in 2009, Mokrynski has lectured and conducted workshops about photographic process throughout the continent. His work has been published and exhibited internationally, recently at Fotogalerie Wien.
London has been home, with his partner and daughter for the past 10 years.