Daniel Buttery

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The American Commonplace

Vernacular photography refers to the reapproriation, collection or display of old photographs created by unknown photographers in a fine art context. Vernacular photographs represent a time past; a depiction of how things were.

What started out as an investigation of the frame as a picture-making device has evolved into a study of the banality of the landscapes that we create, or have created for ourselves.  The large format color chromogenic prints are the result of my studies of man made constructions, or vernacular architecture. They represent our desires, our hopes, our need to progress without regard to what we already have. My pictures are vernacular landscapes; images that are characteristic of our period, but without any identity. They could be made in any American town.

With wholehearted disregard for what is already there, we attempt to improve. Along with progress through construction, we seek to advance through technology. Our world has become so fast paced that it is difficult to find the time to witness these changes. The aggravation of having a new strip mall built in town is soon replaced by the satisfaction of convenience it provides. Marshall McLuhan believes the artist’s role is to call to alarm the state of the world in which we live, while the average person lives life “through a rear-view mirror”. The act of using my large format camera offers me this opportunity. I am forced to slow down and take into account what really is in front of me.

The works of Robert Frank and Stephen Shore have had a profound impact on this body of work, the title pays homage to their work. Robert Frank and his ties to the Beat writers, Stephen Shore and his ties the Pop movement equally resonate in my intentions.

Daniel Buttrey

Last Update: September 22 2009
For additional information, contact: Susan Classen-Sullivan