by Greg Mettler
There is an immediate human response when viewing photography. Accessibility to digital cameras and the plenitude of photographic images in the media has made the medium an integrated part of our society. Photography now acts as the main tool for archiving and sharing our personal and family histories. All of our important events are shared with others by the use of captured images. This pre-existing relationship makes photography a powerful tool for artistic expression. By capturing objects, places and people and re-presenting them as an installation of photographic imagery, I create a platform for the viewer to see the world through my perspective. This allows me to lead my audience into dialog or thought upon subjects that I feel are relevant. This process is aided by the fact that the viewer is already accustomed to discussing, contemplating and attaching emotions to photography.
In order to create artwork that reﬂects my individual perspective, I use differing subject matters, shooting and printing techniques, scale and installation. My photography is project based, and I use or adapt varying techniques to best meet the needs of any one particular project. For example, in 2008, I completed two bodies of work entitled Orphaned Machines and Scopophilia. Orphaned Machines consisted of large color digital prints of discarded machines that I disassembled and then reassembled into new machines. The transformed machines serve as a commentary on consumerism in modern society. The stark, modern quality of the digital print was important in the display and impact of the work. That same year I also completed Scopophilia. This work consisted of life-size ﬁgures printed on canvas using photographic emulsion. My intent was to create ﬁgurative photography that took on a physical aura, something that is often lost when viewing replicable artwork. The alternative process of applying light sensitive emulsion on canvas created an originality to each ﬁgure and produced the desired effect. Although both projects were completed at the same time, they had different intended outcomes and required completely different photographic printing techniques. By not limiting myself to any particular technique, I am free to pursue different directions and discover new pathways in my work.
Artist Greg Mettler’s projects range from the photographic documentation of random nude people enlisted from Craigslist to spent condoms in the Mission District of San Francisco to forgotten appliances and machines found in second hand stores. His main objective is to use the photographic medium to represent his subject matters in a new context, addressing greater social, economic or environmental issues. Originally from the Central Valley, Greg Mettler received his undergraduate degree from Humboldt State University and his Masters of Fine Arts from San Jose State University. He currently lives in Marina and teaches photography at Monterey Peninsula College and Cabrillo College. He is currently working on a site-specific installation for the Monterey Museum of Art.