It is not surprising that photography and voyeurism have had a long and comfortable relationship. With the photograph, one finds oneself free to look, to stare, without the possibility of shame or embarrassment as may result from the “live” subject of our gaze. There is no reciprocity for photographic voyeurism – that person, that thing, is theirs without so much as a murmur of dissent or discomfort. Photographers have long been aware of the use of photography as a gateway for the viewer’s projected fantasies (and in some cases use it as a mediating forum for their own voyeuristic tendencies) – and none more so than those in the area of pornography.
We, the viewers, are implicated in our “looking” when encountering Laura Carton’s work. By digitally removing the human characters from pornographic scenes taken from websites and informing us of their removal, Carton infers certain questions – Where are they? What are they doing? How many are there? What do they look like? And so on. It is an unavoidable reaction that leads us to confront our own use of photographs; to project or perhaps fantasize ourselves as being the star of the scene, the hero/ heroine in the movie, the focus of attention.
Laura Carton is currently participating in the Whitney Independent Study Program. She has studied at the International Center for Photography and participated in the “Artist in the Marketplace” program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. She has been in numerous group exhibitions including shows at the Rotunda Gallery, Smack Mellon, Arena, Gale Gates et al., (Brooklyn, NY), Longwood Arts Center (Bronx, NY), Contemporary Museum (Baltimore, MD), Artists Space (NYC), and Colgate University (Hamilton, NY). She has had solo exhibitions at the Henry St. Settlement (NYC), Ulster County Community College (Stone Ridge, NY) and at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, ME). She has been the recipient of a NYFA artist fellowship in computer arts and a grant from the Jerome Foundation. Additionally she has had residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Ucross Foundation and will be a 2002 participant in the Longwood Cyber Residency & Exhibition Program. Carton has given artist lectures at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, ME), RIT (Rochester, NY), Marymount Manhattan College (NYC), and at SVA (NYC). Laura Carton lives and works in New York City.