Laura J. Padgett’s photographs in her new series of 21 images, entitled “Many Told Tales”, are steeped in subtle reflections and layers that deepen our perception of the images’ content. The artist made the photographs in the in the exhibition spaces and depot areas of the Museum of Natural History in Vienna.
Her technique of adding depth to the images and her use of an open aperture allow spaces to expand and materialize, enabling viewers to experience the museum as a memory bank of natural and human history.
The collections in the various departments are used for meticulous scientific research, while also serving the interest of the public. These exhibits and objects otherwise not accessible to the public are put under a spotlight. Laura J. Padgett’s photographic eye restores the object’s dark secrets to them, enveloping them in ephemeral light and shadows.
“Many Told Tales” present us with spatial situations and close-ups. Juxtapositions are discreetly woven into the aesthetics of the image: The permanence of the materials on the one hand, while on the other, the social and cultural practices of modern perception and the technology-driven processing of what we see.
It is not only the reflections that hint at the changing ways of seeing and creating images in contemporary times, but also the overlapping and layering within the compositions. The artist thereby reinvests the physicality, substance, and depth to the photographs that has been eliminated from photography by the advent of digital imagery.
— Gabriele Detterer
all images copyright © Laura J. Padgett 2016-2020 Text © Gabriele Detterer, 2016