Ron Jude's Artist Statement

emmett is a book that brings form to a selection of old, random photographs of mine. It’s meant to have multiple layers of meaning — everything from sociological and cultural to aesthetic and philosophical — but the heart of the project has to do with ideas about existence and the past. It’s structured to echo how we try to piece together coherent narratives through fragments of memory. The fact that these photographs were taken over 25 years ago is inseparable from the intent of the project. The nostalgia that’s conjured up through the dated look of the pictures — as well as the subjects themselves — brings the idea of “the past” into play. When I started pulling emmett together, I was looking at the photographs as if they weren’t mine. So much time had passed, and I was in such a different place in terms of my thinking about photography, that it really was like they were someone else’s pictures. This was a definite advantage, since I had no deep investment in the individual pictures beyond how they would contribute to the larger piece. I approached emmett much in the same way I worked on Alpine Star, which consisted entirely of photographs authored by other people. Ultimately, emmett is an archive project. It finds its meaning to some degree through the content of the individual images, but I think the real weight of the project depends on fitting the pieces together in just the right way.

View a selection of the emmett collection here.