2005 – 2006
The images in Observer show the urban environment, with a painted silhouette of the photographer inserted.
The locations are in-between spaces. They are condemned, temporary, in the perpetual cycle of decay and growth. Over time plant life, concrete and spray paint encroach on these neglected spaces, claiming the environment.
Subverting the notion of a fixed subject captured by the photographer, I began to project my own image into the subject, marking each location with a stencil of my own profile bending over my Rolleiflex waist level camera.
The camera is merely a recording device and, in documentary photography, the photographer is passive at the moment of image capture. The photographer is the observer. However, by inserting an icon representing the observer into the scene, that passivity crosses the boundary into activity. The observer becomes a subject. In this way the photographer is explicitly stating the implicit attitude of photographers that what they are photographing is worth looking at.
“Like an anthropologist, Abby Storey acknowledges that being a photographer of the human condition makes one a participant/observer, and in this series she is exploring how her symbolic, metaphorical, and actual presence affects her subject matter.”
John B Turner on the Observer series, MoMento Magazine – PhotoForum January 2008.