The beauty of Arthur Felig’s dark and forebode oeuvre in which he explored the grey area between distinctive crime photography and art, had enchanted my appeal to photograph things related to crime. Sydney’s Police Museum’s timeless crime scene photographs were additionally vital to the interest that drove the creation of PHONOI. My later infatuation with both Richard Avedon’s exclusive portraiture and the bizarre mugshots of the 1920s had aroused an interest in complimenting the series with two main ‘mugshots’ which evidently became the centre of and the finishing touch of PHONOI.
The photographs are staged and based on a story conjured through imagination – I gave my subjects a role and provided them with deceptive instruments that allowed them to be part of a made up crime in an undated era. Similar to many crime photographers, I took in a methodic and detailed method of photographing. Furthermore, I maintained a goal of using ambient lighting and experimental composition.
The photographs were then manipulated on photoshop and given a sepia tone, for warmth and nostalgia. Gradient curves, contrast and a yellow-brown tint attempted to further appeal the photographs.
The series is named PHONOI after the greek spirits that compel people to murder, killing and slaughter. It is a product of marrying tableau and portraiture. It is also the beginning of my exploring forensic photography.