David Hilliard's multi-paneled photographs at Jackson Fine Art at Atlanta Georgia present mystical slices of contemporary life. While his photographs focus on his personal life and experiences, the familiar and quite simply the everyday, the work strikes a balance between autobiography and fiction. His photo carries the influences from the old tradition photo Yale school. Each work of his consists of three to seven panels of colour photos conveying a panoramic view (horizontal or vertical) of a self-consciously posed scene.
Hilliardıs Camera fractures the spaces that his subjects inhabit. The multi panel work declines to a seamless transition in our panoramic view of the scene. The seams do not quite match between two of the images. Instead of a smooth transition from frame to frame, we are jolted a bit and reminded that we are looking at photographic media, not a window to the world outside the gallery.
As we look at ³Making Boys Cry² a three-panel panorama photos, a young girl wearing a bathing suit sits on top of a picnic table, stares directly at us. Towards the right of her thereıs an older girl (can tell by cellar light legs) standing on top. We can only see her legs and hand coming down from the top of the frame. Towards the far right of the frame we see a young men staring up toward the girl. The gaze on his face is passionable and tangible towards the older women on top of the table. Hilliard shoots each of the subjects that are clearly connected but highlights the emotional distance among the troika.
Hilliard photos show us a contemporary world by giving us clues. As we look at ³Making Boys Cry² we can see includes commercial items that were not intended to last a long time or were specially produced for one occasion. Hilliard has included a McDonalds cup that was made celebrate Ronald McDonalds. It shows a strong todayıs fashion of graphical design that we canıt help of thinking it will be outdated in a few years. In the photo of ³Norms Birthday² we also see of Ronald McDonalds cups that has been displayed conspicuously and Ronald images facing towards us. As today many photographers Hilliard have displayed most common recognizable pop culture images to reflect our times. Like David LaChapelle series of Ronald McDonald series were he made models wear Ronald McDonalds emblem on their arms like a Naziıs patrons. We also see Roland McDonald cup that litter the landscape alongside the stream in ³Crow Flies.²
As we look into the interior of ³Normıs Birthday,² an interior scene that suggest a soap opera of passion and intrigue. Junk food containers are shunted off to the side along with some lit candles. The soft focus in that frame gives the junk food still a curious pseudo-spiritual ambience. As we scan the work, we see the interior of a cottage with bare wooden studs and a stuffed squirrel perched on the wall of a bedroom. A half-naked woman sits on the bed, partly covering her breast with her crossed arms. A shirtless man is standing outside, leaning against the screen doors and peering inside. A mirror inside the bedroom reflects another figure inside the cottage. This man outside seems like it has surprised the couple inside. Or are we seeing in the mirror a foreshadowing of what will occur next in this domestic drama.
Also, throughout of many Hilliardıs images we see junk food litter that litter the scenes. In photo of ³Four Trees² we see two young men in a forest and junk food litter surrounds them. It gives the effect outdoor dormitory.
Many of Hilliardıs works he captures American contemporary leisure scene. When looking at ³Narrow Belt² we see a strange ritual of keg standing racing. We have seen these in American college movies where students run up to a keg and try drink as much as possible while standing upside down. Also, we have seen these at American Summer Fairs too.
In ³Blue Heaven² it has a typical American contemporary leisure seen where having an outdoor birthday party seen with Barbeque grill. How American can you be?
However, Blue Heaven differs from ³Narrow Belt² by giving a fantasy quality and In ³Narrow Belt² we see smoke and balloons floating unattended and it gives a supernatural. In addition it appears like we have just wonder upon to an Alice Wonderland birthday party where it been abandoned. Furthermore, we can assume to this where Hilliard have had struggling child hood by having bad experience at one of his or some else birthday parties, or wishing an ideal birthday party.
Hilliard presents ominous and poignant statements about machismo, beauty and rejection. Hilliard evokes thwarted manhood and homoeroticism. Many photos show shirtless young men with toned bodies, brooding or staring in idleness or frustration. All of the images combine anxiety, sensuality and bravado. Also, some of his photos reflect the transformation from boyhood to manhood. ³Shirts vs. Skins² we see two basketball teams that have just been divided up by one team wearing no jerseys and the other with jerseys. The two groups are curiously inactive, as if they where waiting for the referee to begin the face-off. As investigate father into the seen we see adolescent men standing in uneasiness-macho manner. Both teams and individuals stand in a comfort zone. Hilliard has manipulated this panorama by twisting his camera, which gives a more 3D feel to it. As for this image it has physical distance and is manipulated to represent emotional distance.
While Hilliard was getting is MFA at the Yale University we can see has gotten influence from the Yale Photo School such as, Philip de DiCorcia and Gregory Crewdson. When look at the ³Basketball Locker Room² we can not help of thinking of Philip de DiCorcia series of his male prostitutes. ³Basketball Locker Room² has the same mastery hidden lighting quality as Philip de DiCorcia. Also, it has the same homoerotic feeling. In ³Basketball Locker Room² we voyeuristic glimpse into a locker room and see a well-hung adolescence men flexing front of the camera and a towel rap loosely around. Hilliard mentions about this image it As in Philip DiCorcia photo of ³Gerald Hughes (A.K.A Savage Fantasy); about 25 years old; Southern California; $50² we see black men posing front of the camera in a Hotel room and having a towel rap loosely around.
Also when we looking at Gregory Crewdson work we can see that Hilliard has been influenced by his series of ³Natural Wonder.² By displaying human presence by showing rubbish or garbage in nature. It has the feeling that Hilliard has placed this rubbish to give a stage set quality. In addition, it has nostalgia feeling by having the parts of the image in soft focus and this gives the effect of being in the past or having fantasy quality like Crewdson. Hilliardıs art statement mentions that his photos go to his adolescent years were he discovers is troublesome homoeroticism. As, like Crewdson goes to his adolescent years where he experience overwhelming sense of moral uncertainty of his past. Where Crewdson would go to the outskirts of his community and find trash. Where Hilliard coming from small urban community where there were homo bashing and homo fear was common thing. We can sense uncertainty in works of ³Four Trees² where the distance male in the back is hesitating to the male gesture of coming here.
In conclusion Hilliard has become fastly popular do the expectation of all those panromanic images due all those HP computer commercials. Slogan ³Remember exactly.² However Hilliard has expanded his ideas not only for sake beauty a true definition of panoramic. He has borrowed the furmalic definition of panoramic (One photograph that includes a large horizontal angel of view.). However, he uses several photos to make one photo.