Douglas McCulloh, Southern Californian photographer, spoke recently at LeBus Court about his artistic endeavors. Emphasizing chaos and chance, McCulloh photographs a variety of subjects and focuses on myriad social and cultural concepts. McCulloh is best known for his photos of Los Angeles neighborhood scenes, his creation of the World’s Largest Photograph and his exhibition “Sight Unseen,” a collection of blind artists’ photographs.
In a distinctly visual age, photography has become the supreme medium of artistic expression. Most people experience the world through images rather than through direct involvement. The digital era grants images dominance over other means of communication. Almost all people, especially adolescents, are photographers and image connoisseurs, taking pictures on phones and digital cameras then uploading these images to sites like Facebook and Instagram. In the words of McCulloh, “people want to be memorialized.” The use of photography in current culture allows people the opportunity to memorialize their plain, perhaps mundane lives, elevating their individual stories to a realm of supreme importance. Images determine suitable subjects for the attention of audiences. By documenting personal life through photos, people can posit themselves as subjects deserving of the attention of others.
McCulloh encourages people to “adopt chance” in the world and to adopt direct experience. As McCulloh explains, what matters is the idea, concept or theory behind images. True experience of life is of greater importance than the documentation of life experiences through images.
McCulloh’s website: http://www.douglasmcculloh.com/index2.html
Photo: World’s Largest Photograph, courtesy of zonezero.com