Tree on the Former Site of Camera Obscura
Tree on the Former Site of Camera Obscura (1996) belongs to a series of large-scale photographs of trees taken by Graham and depicts a particular species that lives in Northern California. The photograph is framed upside down; these “inverted trees” follow Graham’s early experiments with the camera lucida, a room-size pinhole camera that dates back to ancient times. Through these works Graham looks back at the history of photography while making the viewer aware of his or her own retinal experience.
Conceptual artist Rodney Graham’s oeuvre is highly versatile and intellectual. By incorporating fictional narratives and alternative interpretations into an existing context, Graham creates visual puns that layer historical reference to examine social and philosophical systems. Not only is Graham the behind-the-scenes sculptor, photographer, filmmaker, inventor, scholar, writer and singer in his projects, he also literally appears in the finished works, impersonating various fictional characters.