In rhetoric there are three modes of persuasion. Ethos is an appeal to an audience’s ethics. Logos is an appeal to an audience’s logic. Pathos is an appeal to an audience’s emotion. Being a sensitive sort, the last of the three, Pathos, tends to be the mode most effective on me. Since human emotion is an endless source of fascination for me and since personal experience coupled with its emotional repercussion is most often the subject of my art making practice, I created a series of a still life images that are an exploration of visual emotional manipulation.
In an effort to better understand how I am persuaded by and frequently manipulated by appeals to my emotion I undertook the task of creating that very thing in visual form. I executed my manipulations using what I know about the technical aspects of my chosen medium of photography, what I know about aesthetics, and what I know about human psychology (more self-reflective than academic) as my major tools.
In this series, innocuous or common objects are made to speak of sadness and loss, while peculiar or disturbing subjects can become whimsical and lovely. I challenged myself to take some of the most frequently employed objects and symbolism from my previous work and reinvent them. In these photographs the frozen body of a “feeder” mouse does not immediately reference death or loss and is not simply gross or curious. The scene is built, styled, and captured to be pleasing, perhaps even lovely and convey a sweetness and reverence for the beauty and fragility of life.
It is my practice as an artist to draw directly from my personal experience. Not only is each image crafted to garner a response contrary to the objects depicted, but each image is also standing on the ground of my history. The spoon full of sugar in Pathos # 9 is not delightful. It is aggressive and ominous and based on my twice living with gestational diabetes.