Christian Patterson is a self taught American photographer. He was born in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, USA in 1972 yet he has moved around America for work. In 2002 he was living in Brooklyn, New York, but moved to Memphis, Tennessee to work with photographer William Eggleston. His most renowned works are his series, ‘Sound Effects’ and ‘Redheaded Peckerwood’, both of which have had their own solo exhibitions and have won awards. For example the Recontres d’Arles Authoer Book Award 2012 and the Vevey International Photography awards, he was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Photographs are at the heart of Patterson’s work but they are often combined with documents and objects and this is demonstrated in his work ‘Bottom of the Lake’, 2015.
In this series ‘Bottom of the Lake’, Patterson revisits his hometown, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, literally translated to ‘Bottom of the lake’ from French. The book created, published by Koenig Books, takes form in a replica of his families 1973 telephone book from Fond Du Lac. Within this book he inserted his own photographs, drawings and notes, photographs varying from large format colour landscapes to black and white snapshots, still lifes shot in the studio and archival images. The piece had a solo exhibition at the Robert Morat Gallerie in Berlin, Germany in 2015. His use of a previously published book is what intrigues me about this piece, he has used a book that contains the information of every person and business in Fond Du Lac and I love the way that this gives the publication a personal edge. it makes the pages relevant to the images and notes that Patterson created. I think that using a telephone book to present your work is a great way to show your relationship to your hometown and even the comparison between the images and the phone book shows a contrast in time periods. His images are a collection of modern day Fond Du Lac and family archive images, these again reiterate his connection with the town and his interest in how it has changed. Although I like the theme of revisiting his home town it is the publication itself that interests me the most, I love how each image unwillingly has a connection to the book just through the information the pages hold. It is his use on a well known published book that I want to use and interpret in my own way. I will incorporate the text that is already on the pages into my own work and make a connection between the images and the pages and text.