(Berkeley 1996. Image copyright Hamish Reid).
As anyone who's seen my studio knows, I have this ... thing
... about the surreal shapes and bizarre textures of everyday packaging artefacts. The effort that must go into designing some of these things has to be immense -- some of them are complex works of throwaway art, and stumbling across a fantastic example while unpacking a new printer or phone or something like that always makes me smile. The packaging often engages me more than the thing being packaged -- cardboard or styrofoam, the intricacies of folds, angles, texture, and shapes suddenly becomes quite surreal when taken out of the context they were designed for. These things are simultaneously very alien and quite banal.
I've dragged some of the best examples from house to house (in a couple of cases, from country to country
), and friends and visitors are always making snide remarks about the stack of what just looks like trash or recycling over there in the corner or on top of the bookcase. And they often don't make the connection with the stark black-and-white prints on my studio walls -- "What the hell is that?!" is a common reaction, especially when the print is nearly life-sized...
This one's part of a series of styrofoam objects salvaged from some long-forgotten appliance package, originally shot about 1996 with my 4x5 in my old Berkeley studio, using continuous tungsten lighting (it's not like the damn thing's going to move, is it?!). There's a bunch more where this comes from...