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David Hilliard.
Photographs by David Hilliard.
Aperture, New York, 2005. 96 pp., 50 four-color illustrations, 15x9".
This is the first major monograph on the photographs of David Hilliard (b. 1964), an artist who graduated with an MFA from Yale and currently heads their undergraduate photography department. The panoramic form that Hilliard works with is not the single-negative format. What he creates are multi-panel groupings of images, sometimes two, three, or four panels of a single scene. Yet there is no attempt to make a seamless image. Each component is treated separately, and depth of field, focus and lighting may change slightly from panel to panel within a single group. The results are mesmerizing. Imbued with an unmistakable narrative quality, they read like complete paragraphs excerpted from short stories. There is a highly illuminating passage in the interview with Vince Aletti where Hilliard mentions some short, experimental films he made during college. “What’s beautiful about photography is how exact it is, but within that exactitude, things are lost because it gives everything the same kind of attention, in a way that a film or a piece of literature wouldn’t. I thought, ‘Well, maybe I’m a filmmaker,’ and I made a bunch of films that weren’t very good—college films. I would pan the film across, and I would stop and stay on your eyes for five minutes; they were really static. I think it’s because I like to stare, and I like photography’s ability to look at something that you may not have noticed or that, in reality, you couldn’t stare at. So I thought I’d make a series of pictures where I’d focus here, and focus here, and then I’d focus here—I’ll try to merge film and photography and create a visual narrative through planes of focus. It’s that simple.” - Darius Himes Read Publisher's Description.

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