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AST Juried Exhibition0.jpg
Winner of the Winter 2011 Competition
Artwork that brings an inanimate object/objects to life. 
An exploration of the use of objects in a body of work.
1st Place Winner.jpg
12 x 18in
250. usd
 12 x 18 in
 250. usd
18 x 12in
250. usd                                                                                                                                         

artist statement

The Surface of Desire

This body of work draws on the conventions of street photography to explore the interplay of passion, fear, enticement, and image that constitutes the intersection of public and personal spaces in our culture.  This work is about the other we want to be or fear we have become, as well as the role of the photographer, and of the craft of photography, in commerce’s pandering to our needs and arousing our desires, tempting us to believe that the surface of display is enough to bring satisfaction of our dreams and meaning to our lives. 

Department store mannequins give body to our dreams, our insecurities, our hopes, our passions. They become objectifications of the images we hope to present to the world, the glamour of fashion, the aura of confidence, the appearance of poise, the simulacrum of joy. They are who we want to be, and all we have to do is change clothes with them to become that image. But of course they are made, and made up, they give body to the cliché that beauty is only one layer deep.

The camera is of course complicit in the reflections of desire that fashion offers us. Glass surfaces mirror the work of the camera and multiply its work of observation, enabling moments of composure and surprise in the ebb and flow of things and events, when the strange looks familiar and the familiar looks very strange.  The dream world of beautiful images enables and confines, for it defines the cost of hope, the price of desire, the terms of solicitation. In the midst of it all, we make our own way, knowing that we may be freed or trapped by how we play the game.


John N. Wall is a photographer, a writer, and a teacher at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. He has exhibited his work in solo and juried exhibitions across North Carolina and the USA, from Vermont to Texas and from Florida to California. 

His work has received numerous awards, including First Place and Best in Show for black and white photography.

His photographs are in the permanent collections of the Gregg Museum of Art and Design at NC State University and the Office of International Affairs at Texas Tech University.

He has received Emerging Artist Grants from the Wake County Arts Council in 2004 and 2008.

He is also the manager of the Blog about Fine Art Photography in the American South at http://southphotography.blogspot.com/.

He holds a Certificate in Documentary Photography from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.