When the World Was New

This series of photographs is a meditation about wondering and wandering. It is about invention, immersion, and embracing the unknown. They are self-portraits, yet they are about the experience of being anonymous and free of the limitations of identity.

The title for this series is adapted from a passage in Gabriel García Márquez’s master work of magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude:

“The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.”  



This project documents the Olympian-inspired tableaux vivants performed annually at Camp Lawrence, a boys’ camp in New Hampshire. A tableaux vivant, or “living picture,” is an art form in which actors pose in a silent and motionless presentation of important moments in history, literature, art, or everyday life. Traditionally, tableaux are both entertainment and a way of communicating cultural motifs.

This specific performance is about teamwork, strength, and endurance. It is also a ritual and a rite of passage. The participants take their roles seriously. They spend long hours in preparation, and the poses require the very same teamwork, strength, and endurance they illustrate for the younger campers.

As an artist who uses the photographic tableau in my work, I am interested in how the appropriation and repetition of traditional images shapes our visual language.