Stephen Santamaria

essessem's picture

(415) 626-6280

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SF OPEN STUDIOS
WEEKEND 1: HAYES VALLEY
OCT 13-14, NORTHEAST + SOMA
295 Oak Street
San Francisco , CA 94102
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My work explores creating visual and psychological tension by imposing an abstract motif (the grid) on to the presupposed objectivity of a photograph. One of my goals is to engage the viewer as a participant in the board game I create in the process, to linger more before proceeding to the next image.

The photographic subject matter (thus far) consists of the face, the body, and flora. To varying extent, these are stimuli that appeal to us on a primal level. Our brains have dedicated regions for facial recognition. The human figure has always appealed to an innate aesthetic sense, if not to our sexual drive. Our vision has evolved to distinguish among plants what we can eat, or to recognize what is hiding among them, seeking to eat us.

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Altering photographic integrity in this manner is intended to partially withhold what the viewer's brain is primed to seek out. I expect a discomfited reaction, but I ultimately seek a contemplative one by interrupting one's routine sensory experience.