Park (serie: Some Other Place)
The line between truth and illusion in photography is one that has been frequently crossed by practitioners since the invention of the medium. Sometimes that line was crossed deliberately through the use of simple techniques like double exposing the film in order to place the same individual in two different parts of the picture (a popular technique for professionals and amateurs at the end of the nineteenth century). Other times the breach of the truth was dictated by the limitations of the materials needed to produce a picture. For example, no clouds ever appeared in a sky made with orthochromatic film, and until the 1930s rarely was a scene rendered in color, which is the most obvious breach of truth in a long list of possibilities associated with the medium. With so many opportunities to bend reality, it was inevitable that practitioners from advertising photographers to artists would exploit this characteristic of the medium.
Lori Nix is an artist who bends the line between truth and illusion in her photographs. She accomplishes this by photographing miniatures and models which illuminate her interest in the disaster movies of the 1970s and her memories of growing up in Kansas—a place that seems to attract disasters like no other. In her series titled Accidentally Kansas Nix creates scenes of floods, tornadoes, snow storms, lightning strikes, and insect infestations, all epic and defining events recalled from her formative years in rural Kansas. The state of Kansas is located in the middle of the United States geographically, and also represents the moral middle of the road as a state of mind where conventional family values and good citizenship go hand in hand. By linking disasters with moral imperatives Nix allows herself to question conventional codes of society at the same time as she explores the unsettling memories of her youth.