An Index of Patriotic Consumption
Having spent the last 10 years in the Army, my 21st birthday in Iraq and several other assignments has undoubtedly shaped the way I interpret conflict, veterans, and patriotism. Exploring objects and events at the periphery of war can describe a less discernible national identity and foreign policy. Examining what the average American watches, reads, eats, buys, and “Likes,” can reveal how American patriotism materializes on the sides of beer cans at NFL games. This historical period, when rhetoric, facts, and statistics are vague or flat out false has created an urgency to define how history and current events are perceived through images. Images disassociate from their original meaning and begin to represent something new. I am interested in the commodification, consumption, and representation of patriotism in advertising, media, culture, and religion, often over-lapping in video games, TV shows, and sporting events. As a photographer, I am both an observer and creator. My work utilizes the medium of photography to document, archive, catalog, flatten, enlarge, and scrutinize these objects in greater descriptive detail. The specificity of photography allows me to use the aesthetics of the press and advertising industries to oscillate between art as fiction and documentary as fact while contributing to the existing visual vocabulary of military iconography.