The project is inspired by the nineteenth century field notes and amateur photographs of S.J. Manetta, a fictional third assistant engineer of the merchant steamer era. Aboard a modern diesel ship, I retraced Manetta’s regular mail run between the newly familiar Far East and the surging San Francisco she called home. Supplied with a journal, camera, and lots of time, I took the sixty day route across what is still the biggest ocean in the world and imagined a kinship with Manetta. Her obsession with documenting still moments in unstill times felt appropriately contemporary. When I came home, San Francisco was cycling between boom and crash as quickly as it always has and maybe always will be.
As more of the visual environment progresses towards the digital, I’m curious how formerly unremarkable image-making techniques like screen printing will re-emerge with new questions, experiments, and and largely untapped possibilities. Recent phenomena in the culture at large like Found Magazine, typewriter collecting, and Holga cameras at Urban Outfitters already point to a renewed fascination with the meaning of pictures. If my Pictures of Pictures were real, they would be made out of the materials and sensibilities of their time. If my Pictures of Pictures were real, they would carry a history.