Which came first: the simulacrum or the egg?

Seen in an advert for a photography competition titled ‘Simulacrum’:

“‘Our era prefers the image to the thing, the copy to the original, the representation to the reality, appearance to being.’  Susan Sontag
Over the past hundred years our internal memories have been replaced with external aids such as the photograph. These technological crutches are there so we no longer need to store information in our brains.
The implications of replacing our interior memory with an external source means that something will be lost in this process. What is at stake here is every part of our relationship with the world and the people in it.  Photography’s sheer ability to be everywhere has affected the collective memory of social and cultural experiences to the extent that photographs can often appear to function as a substitute for the experience themselves.
elysium gallery is looking for work that addresses the notion of photographic representation and the impact this has on the way we see and interact with the world.  “
hundreds and thousands

This would have been my entry. I’m not sure how far I would’ve got. Maybe I would’ve made the first cut. Maybe not. I doubt I would have won the £200 cash prize. Entering a collage into a photography competition is always a risky business. Photographers think I’m an artist you see; whereas artists often see me as a photographer dabbling in the arts.

The collage Hundreds and Thousands is a reproduction of a reproduction of yet another reproduction of a shell representing an original. Yes, it’s that layered.

Maybe I need to explain. This collage is from a photograph I took (reproduction 1). My original photograph was of a poster advertising Easter egg sales (reproduction 2). The poster itself is a 2D reproduction of a 3D chocolate Easter egg (reproduction 3). The Easter egg is a chocolate shell symbolically representing a real egg.

my original photograph

It’s not very often I would show you the original photograph, my original photograph, of the source image but I think in this case it helps. It bears little resemblance to my collaged reworking. I prefer my representation of the Easter egg to this ‘original’ photograph; or indeed to any of the previous interpretations of the Easter egg. I would also assume that Sontag prefers a reworking to an original since her quote is itself a reworking of a quote by Feuerbach.

My reworking is necessary for me because I feel the original photograph loses the grace and delicacy of an egg. The chocolate looks heavy and cheap. The dull background does nothing to enhance the idea that this is potentially a luxury foodstuff to celebrate a religious festival. The sprinkles are the only delicate things on this original. One by one their tiny presence has enhanced the chocolate egg. It is these hundreds and thousands that I have focused on to create a delicacy that was so lacking in the original. I prefer my representation of a reality which, lets face it, was a strange [un]reality to begin with laced with symbolism and reference.

So why did I chicken out and not enter my little collage into this competition?  My work would have been seen by the organisers, as well as representatives from another gallery, and also a prestigious Turner Prize nominee who is judging. Only a fool wouldn’t enter.

I’ll tell you why on another day…


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