SURVEILLANCE - Intangible Proof
has long accompanied narrative
as a verification of truth, which in return implicates the photograph as 'evidence'
of what Barthes describes as 'that has been', specifically, what has existed
or has occurred.
P. Elaine Sharpe subverts these assumptions in her current work by exploiting the opposite, revealing deception and artifice through the use of surveillance photographs and non-linear narratives that are ambiguous, mysterious and nonsensical. However, Sharpe's work goes beyond planting the seed of doubt in the photograph's ability to document and corroborate the truthfulness of its subject. She addresses the idea of the photograph as objective forensic evidence as it relates to 'absence'. What is present in the photograph? What is deliberately absent? And does absence from photographic documentation confirm non-existence or that an event did not take place?
The photographs appear initially as landscapes or urbanscapes taken at night. They are clouded, blurry and dark and the absence of any person or object is obvious. They are compelling visually, more so because they elicit mystery and intrigue as they whisper a narrative that looms in the shadows.