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In its printed form this Artist's Statement is on 8-1/2 by 11 inch paper, with the two images beneath it on the same page.


Views have become commodified, treated as if they are objects to be possessed. Store displays, product advertisements on television and in print, nature made pretty in picture book photos, cute animal close-ups in nature films, car windshield views of manicured suburbs, landscaped vistas seen through picture windows, single-image architectural photographs of buildings isolated from their surroundings and history — these all tell lies by presenting pieces of the world as consumables that are expected to convey instant pleasure without thought as to their environment, origins, or meaning. The goal of these prepackaged pleasure-delivery vehicles is to stupefy the viewer, rendering him passive and powerless.

Aware bicycling counteracts the reductionist torrent. The bicyclist's continuously-changing field of view, and the individual images glimpsed within it, are inextricably tied to the air, the wind, the land, the sky, and one's own moving body. A keen attention to all aspects of the experience reforges the forgotten link between brain and the senses, uniting eyes, mind, machine, body, and surroundings. One's movement through space is not the passive experience of the passenger-traveler, but the result of active effort, connecting the individual to a world now revealed not as a collection of points of interest but as an infinitely diverse continuum in which the bicyclist is physically and mentally immersed.

I group photographs together in the hope of leading the viewer to truths that view commodification elides: that a scene is only fully revealed when seen from multiple points of view; that each part of the world is connected to every other. The planet about which we care so little is an unaccountably vast and intricately linked network. The traveler's growing awareness of this truth leads to an oceanic torrent of thoughts and emotions, but rather than solely internal and psychologically regressive, this revelatory skein leads both inward and outward. Each leaf of grass, each sliver of pavement is now understood not in isolation but as part of the larger fabric on which it depends, and which gives it life.

Fred Camper
Chicago, Illinois
July 13, 2005.


Other Artist's Statements     Fred Camper art     Complete Fred Camper art