Rick Dingus
Photographic Works


overview:

I photograph places that interest me because they contain details that pose questions related to a broadly defined notion of "Landscape." I'm interested in any situation that prompts contemplation of the curiously complex connections we share with the larger patterns of existence. Remote wilderness and rural settings, vernacular byways, urban environments, ancient pathways, ruins, historic, mythic and spiritual pilgrimage sites, scientific and technological research facilities, folk and professional museums, shrines, collections, displays, and dioramas all fascinate me because these places reflect individual and collective responses, understandings, and a myriad of relationships to the same world I live in. I've shifted frames of reference continually, seeking new insights that might be hidden behind the details that are in plain view.

Since the late 1970's I've worked on a series of personal and group photographic projects. In one way or another, they all explored and challenged traditional notions about documentation, interpretation, and the relations between the perceiver and perceived. I began by creating mixed media pieces, drawing with pencils or crayons directly on my photographs to acknowledge them as physical objects and artifacts; and to invite viewers to participate in the experience and interpretation. For the Rephotographic Survey Project, I was most interested in using repeat photography to investigate not just how the camera could help us record the world changing through time, but to examine how both the photographer and the medium of photography distort the world by rendering it as an image. I've worked with many camera formats from 35mm to medium format, view camera, panoramic, digital, and homemade cameras. When making straight "non-manipulated" prints, I usually install them in groups to encourage reading between the photographs while looking at them. In 1999 I helped establish an interdisciplinary archive at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University called The Millennial Collection, which continues to collect professional, student, and vernacular photographs, artist books, and creative texts to record multiple responses to time, place, and culture. This archive is being recycled back into the community through exhibitions and publications, and it serves as a resource for research, collaborative projects, and networking with other communities.