I’d say that these pictures are about the life of objects. I had a funny revelation recently–and in a way this takes me back to my art school days as a nascent photographer–that my Fridge picture is very similar to Edward Weston’s toilet. In his diaries and notebooks, which I read in my early 20’s, and loved, he talks about photographing his toilet over and over, each time refining the composition until he attained a formalist perfection. And he writes about his exaltation at finally getting it right. Perhaps it’s odd to be identifying with Weston at this point in my life, but I have to admit that my process with the fridge was strangely similar. It involved a slow, methodical deliberation, a stalking of light, of waiting for the precise moment of solar illumination in an otherwise dim room. To get back to your question about the concepts in my work, maybe this comparison to Weston speaks to the idea of ‘slow time’, “the cyclical and durational” that Miwon Kwon mentions in relation to my photographs.
JTD: Can you speak about your interest in everyday objects, including objects that are often overlooked or regarded as a nuisance, such as dust and empty bottles, and how these objects influence your photographs?
MD: Bottles, especially the clear glass ones, refract light in beautiful and surprising ways. I began the bottle series because of an accident, a blurred Johnny Walker bottle that turned up at the tail end of a B&W contact sheet. I loved the look of it and began to take intentional pictures of empty whiskey bottles consumed in my household, and did this for a period of five years, realizing at the end of this term that the totality of the images constituted a kind of calendar, a finite block of time denoted by the consumption of a particular type of spirits. I followed the B&W series with a color series, also documenting five years of consumption.
JTD: What is your attraction to dust, and what do you believe it conveys to the viewer about human nature?
MD: I’m kind of obsessed with dust as this nuisance substance, and just the whole Sisyphean nature of it that Simone de Beauvoir talks about in relation to the futility of housework, the housewife’s ‘endless, hopeless battle against dust and dirt’. Beauvoir says that the only way out of this trap is to embrace the “life in death” in decay. Dust is made up of dead matter, but it’s also totally alive in its entropic, inescapable fashion. If you can find a way to make your peace with it then you won’t be doomed to “the general and the inessential.(…)
excerpt of an interview by Jess T. Dugan, in Big Red & Shiny. continue reading here
more of Moyra’s work here