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2021 SPE Annual Conference: CANCELLED Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Scott Hilton

SPE Member since 2003
Member Chapter: South Central

De Rerum Natura

The words text and texture share a common latin root- TEXO- to weave; to braid together; to construct with elaborate care.

This surprising, yet intuitively clear bond of meaning serves as the central metaphor for this suite of photographs. Language and sensation- the textual and the textural- are processes of pattern perception. Meanings are woven from words just as lived experience is interlaced with bodily feeling.

To me, the hand-made, physical photographic image is the ideal way to express how concepts have a tactile presence because they are woven, because they are stitched together from what Barthes calls a “tissue of signs.”

The title of the work is taken from a 1st-century philosophical prose poem, De Rerum Natura, written by Lucretius. He writes an evocative explanation of the school of thought known as Atomism- a belief that the universe consists of tiny indivisible particles that float in a sea of void, that eternally combine, break apart, and recombine. This conclusion was reached purely through observation and clear reasoning, without benefit of the advanced technology that would prove it to be correct two thousand years later.

I work in an antiquated, hand-made photographic process called Wet Plate Collodion, because I think it is uniquely suited to expressing these ideas. Every image made with this process is a balance of the orderly organization of information through the glass lens of the camera, with the unpredictable and unavoidable chemical and physical randomness in the plate that records the image. My goal is to make images that speak of the deep connection between ideas and their physical manifestation.


SYN. see LIE

a small tributary



Abductor Pollicis


The Catholic





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