Maggie Taylor Statement

Artist Statement
For a little more than 20 years now I have been using a flatbed scanner instead of a traditional camera to record and interpret the objects I collect. I frequent flea markets, searching for old tintypes and toys that seem to have a story to tell. Then in my studio I make small pastel drawings as backgrounds and scan each element into my computer separately. Using Photoshop I am able to arrange and play with these layers in much the same way that I worked with objects in my studio for a still life photograph. I work very spontaneously and intuitively, trying to come up with images that have a resonance and a somewhat mysterious narrative content. There is no one meaning for any of the images, rather they exist as a kind of visual riddle or open-ended poem, meant to be both playful and provocative.

The predecessors to these images were my color photographs, made in my back yard over a period of ten years from 1986 until 1996. I used natural light and found objects to create and photograph enigmatic, loosely narrative scenes, often involving old toys and other representations of the human figure. Although I became aware of the possibility of using a computer to manipulate photographic imagery in 1992, it was not until 1996 that I felt the output available was of sufficient quality to attract me to this technique. After some initial experimentation, I found a way to scan and collage which enabled me to create something visually unique--not a photograph and not a painting, but an original digital image.

My final prints are made on an archival pigment printer on a paper that gives the texture and look of a print or watercolor. Although they are not traditional photographs, I definitely think of my scanner as a light-sensitive recording device. And there is a camera involved in making many of the images--it just happens that the camera was used over 100 years ago by a photographer who remains anonymous.

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