Immediacy is Photography's greatest asset; the way photography interacts with our lived experience of the world sets it apart from other visual media. Yet the conventions of the medium elevate its illusionistic quality, focusing on trompe l'oeil–confusion of a subject and its representation. Traditionally, photographers have obsessed over dust and scratches, manipulating errant lighting in the darkroom to create an image as flawless as the smooth surface of coated paper. However, I've come to think of photography as a medium that accepts the blunt line of the hand as a shock to this surface uniformity, creating interplay between the immediacy of the hand and that of photography.
Traditionally, individual photographs are understood primarily as narrative. Relationships between figures or objects are understood by speculating on what might have brought them together in the camera’s frame or what might have happened in the moments after. It is this secondary interpretation, photography's malleable narrative life, that I'm calling attention to with my razor-drawings.
I use an action that is undesirable to photographers. In defacing the photograph, it becomes a Postmodern substrate for Romantic thought. I identify as a photographer, however, I explore the medium through fictional texts, drawings and photographs. I mess up the clean reproducibility of the mechanically reproduced image with an X-acto blade, scratching elaborate patterns into the surface of my photographs. The razor-drawings appear delicate from a distance, but upon closer inspection become textured marks of controlled yet violent motions.
Christopher Russell (b. 1974) received his M.F.A. from the Art Center College of Design (CA). In 2009, he produced a solo exhibition as part of the Hammer Museum's (CA) "Hammer Projects" series and has been featured in group exhibitions at the Tokyo Institute of Photography (Japan), The Norton Museum (FL), Armory Center for the Arts (CA), White Columns (NY), De Appel Arts Center (Netherlands), Oakland Museum (CA), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA). He has published numerous critical articles in Artillery Magazine, Art US, and Leisure, in addition to being a featured subject of positive review by the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Huffington Post, Artillery, Frieze, and ArtForum, among others. Russell also produces his own unique books in addition to his 'sine Bedwetter. His first novel is Sniper, and other books include Budget Decadence (2nd Cannons Publications), Pattern Book (Insert Blanc Press) and Landscape (Kolapsomal Press). His work is included in the collections of Deutsche Bank, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Hammer Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.