You cannot step into the same river twice…for other waters are continually flowing on.
—Heraclitus, b 544 BC
From the vast array of imaging devices in the Slemmons camera archive, we chose a Radiopticon postcard projector (ca. 1900-30) and an 1893 Kodak BullsEye #2 box camera to guide us into photographic history. Intervening with 21st century upgrades and film, we revived these antique photographic tools, embracing the glitches and discombobulations that were revealed in this form of time travel.
Inviting the viewer to look backward into the lens, we created an intimate theater inside the Radiopticon. Vintage postcards were projected through it, re-photographed with an iPhone and then animated. A soundtrack of resonant dripping reminds us of mythic and spiritual associations of water as source — containing, carving and re-forming our own blurred visions of the past.
To look through a now-obsolete camera is to reflect upon human histories. Layering the view in time, we photographed the oak lined banks of the Milwaukee River with the Kodak BullsEye #2 camera. Retrofitting the camera to function created overlapping exposures and unpredictable intervals. Re-photographing the film negative with a hand-held iPhone in panorama mode formed undulations of wavering focus, distance and movement, evoking the ebb and flow of human mediation on the land and water.
Photographic collaborators Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman examine the confluence of history, myth and popular culture to frame contemporary tales and critique the social landscape. Their interest in photography’s storytelling potential engages with the edge between the heroic and commonplace through a wide range of subject matter. They have been working together for over four decades, employing staged photography, studio constructions, documentary, alternative processes and artists’ books in their practice.
Their work has been exhibited in the US and internationally and is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, H2–Augsburg Center for Contemporary Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Walker Art Center, and Worcester Art Museum. Their artists' books are in the collections of the Yale Center for British Art, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Hirsch Library at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Joan Flasch Artists Book Collection, and Bainbridge Island Arts Museum among others.
They maintain studios in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois.