Houck’s Peg and John was made as part of a series of photographic works that capture objects from the artist’s childhood. In this image, drafting materials (pencils, compasses, and protractors) are laid out next to shotgun shell casings. Presenting these objects in juxtaposition but without commentary, Houck offers a partial but interesting glimpse into his own biography.
An MFA graduate from UCLA, John Houck works primarily in the medium of photography and specializes in still-life vignettes. To make his works, Houck arranges an object on a sheet of paper, photographs, and prints it, then places that print back into a new composition, repeating the process again and again until arriving at an aggregate image. The layers appear to be digitally altered, but he does not utilize any postproduction interventions. But Houck is not a purist by any means; he is significantly influenced by his professional experience as a computer programmer, and his artistic methodology mirrors a kind of algorithmic code. By referencing a conventional artistic genre through an iterative and contingent process, Houck offers up photography as a mode of thought.