“Strange Histories” is a body of work created from collaged 35mm photographs. In early 2013 Ian acquired an amazing collection of five thousand slides from the Tractenburg Family Sideshow Players, a NYC-based family band. They had originally collected the slides while on tour and used them as inspiration for their music and stage performances. He was immediately intrigued by the rich historical conversation he had inherited: thousands of images, spanning roughly five decades of time and experience.
By selecting slides with specific transparency values, Ian learned to experiment and layer the images in an analog photomontage process. The resulting photographic collages present surreal histories that question the truthfulness of the original images. After spending countless hours peering into the stories of the people who took the pictures, and considering the complex lifecycle of the slides themselves, he found himself returning to the notion that together we create strange histories.
Ian is currently collaborating with fellow artists, writers, and collectors to create a short story book inspired by the collages. By pairing the photocompositions with written captions, the past is recontextualized and infused with the imagination and perspective of today. Publish date TBD.
Strange Histories slide pieces are exhibited and sold in vintage slide viewers.