Artist's Statement
Documenting Self-Expression

Photo: E. Cipher

What drives much of my photography is an interest in how the things we make reflect who we are. My interest in documenting self-expression is manifested in three principal ways. First, signs and buildings mirror the era in which they were put in place. I photograph old buildings and signs for their nostalgia value, and because old buildings and signs are worn the way we are worn. Second, our personalities show in our own creations. I photograph homemade signs because of what they say about their makers. And finally, who we are “rubs off” on the places we call home, particularly when it comes to decorating our yards. A yard with two flamingos hardly gets a glance. But populate the front yard with a half dozen, and I hit the brakes and get out the camera.

I photograph nature, too, loading up my tripod and lights and heading to the woods, adding to my collection of wildflower photos. Often I use a vintage Argus C3 35 mm film whose modified lens adds distortion. Sometimes I apply distortion with special printing techniques.

I still use film, mostly. I am quite fond of quirky vintage cameras, toy cameras, and custom-modified cameras. When precision is needed, I have top-end film and digital cameras to use.

In addition to the photos found in the galleries to the left, there is a huge archive of photos on my Flickr page. You can check out my blank cards and photo-based glassware on my Etsy page.

Michael Zeis, May 26, 2011