World in a Jar: War & Trauma is an installation that reworks portions of appropriated historical images as well as original material to examine visual cultural memories involving death, evil, tragedy, trauma, and media over the past 400 years. The recycling process allows me to engage in an historical dialogue with the ghosts of other times, places, and makers. I see myself as a transformer, actively distilling and/or subverting a subject into what I consider its visual essence. Through this course of selection, re-photographing – including re-photographing my own pictures – and editing, I transform the images and in turn they transform me. My intention is to evoke an inner state of consciousness and grapple with a subject beyond its external structure. This approach can be likened to the Japanese concept of shashin, which says that something is only true when it integrates the outer appearance with the inner makeup of a subject.
Robert Hirsch (Buffalo, NY) is an artist, author, curator, educator, and historian. His published books include Seizing the Light: A History of Photography; Exploring Color Photography: From the Darkroom to the Digital Studio published by McGraw-Hill and Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Ideas, Materials, and Processes published by Focal Press. He is the former associate editor for Photovision and Digital Camera magazines and a contributing writer for Afterimage, exposure, Fotophile, The History of Photography, Ilford Photo Newsletter, and the Photo Review as well as various regional publications. His visual artwork has recently been shown at: New Jersey City University, (Jersey City, NJ); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Big Orbit Gallery, and CEPA Gallery, (Buffalo, NY); Light Work (Syracuse, NY); South East Center of Contemporary Art, (Los Angeles, CA); Parsons School of Design, NYC; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM; Vermont Center for Photography (Brattleboro, VT); Artspace (New Haven, CT); Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C); George Eastman House (Rochester, NY); Contemporary Museum (Baltimore, MD); and Stefan Stux Gallery (NYC). A former director of CEPA Gallery in Buffalo, Hirsch currently heads up Light Research, a consulting service that provides professional services to the fields of photographic art and education.