One day at a restaurant in Normal, IL, I found a little plastic bear laying on the floor. I picked him up and examined him. He gave a look of confidence as if he was an old wise man. It was obvious that a child had dropped him and wasn’t coming back. I decided to keep him and do a series of photos on him.
State Parks have always been of interest to me. While as many Americans see them as virtually untouched by humans, I have a different opinion. State Parks (more true for Illinois it seems) are very much a controlled environment. From the obvious construction of paths, bridges, fences, walls and buildings, to the less obvious… What really interests me, is the creation of photo-op locations. This includes the careful placement of logs, rocks, paths, trees, signs and so on. Essentially, this is making the experience of the tourist more predefined and repetitive. Thus, the average tourist won’t have to look hard to find good spots for pictures because they will run into dozens of them if they follow the paths.
With this revelation, I try to find my photo-op locations for a miniature bear. These images invoke a strong confusion about habitat and birth place surrounding Winston Brown (as I call him). Is he a bear, or is he just a hunk of plastic? Is this “controlled” wilderness really his home? Or, is his real home the assembly line of a factory? Or even, is it in a more untouched environment? Does such a place even exist?
While Winston has been prefabricated to have a certain appearance, I try to use odd spatial relationships of shot locations to evoke different emotions from Winston and the picture plane as a whole. Look through them and see if you can find sadness, fear, confidence, and many more.