Shell Game

Series Description

The world is an interesting place. Nowhere is this more evident than with the millions of life forms that have evolved on our planet over many eons. While all life forms fascinate us, not least by virtue of the fact that they exist at all, I am especially drawn to the phylum mollucsa, which includes seashells. The roughly 100,000 species in this phylum (no one, of course, knows the precise number) dazzle us with the variety and beauty of their shells, a beauty I have tried to exploit in this series of photographs.

Why would I title this show “Shell Game,” with its suggestions of misrepresentation and swindle? The title refers first of all to the playful character of these photographs of shells. But also implicit in the title is that there is a good deal of deception in these images, especially with respect to coloration; rarely do the shells in those pictures assume their true colors. At a minimum, colors have been saturated to appear much brighter than one would find on the beach or in the ocean depths; in the extreme cases colors have been altered completely, thanks to the expressive capabilities of Photoshop. My goal has been less to document how these shells appear than to present them as I want them to be seen.

Additional possible evidence of deceit on my part is that some people would not consider these images to be photographs at all, as no camera in the usual sense was used to make them. Rather, images were captured by placing the objects on the glass of a flatbed scanner, scanning them, and processing the resulting scan in Photoshop.

So that’s my shell game. Want to play?