memories of dreams

I made these images not to record but to explore.

   I am looking for the dreams behind our backs, the movement we see in the corner of our eyes, the alien landscapes overlaid over the streets of our cities. I want to find the characters who disappear after their scenes are over, the spear-carriers hidden in the dark, the scene-changers hidden in the shadows.

   If you turn to face the sun, what dark dreams and hallucinations dance in the shadows behind your head?


I received my first camera on my eighth birthday. I was immediately enthralled with the way it changed reality: "Look, if I tip the camera, everyone's leaning over to the side in the picture!" Most of the work I've done since has been a continuation of that experimentation.
   My main influences haven't been photographers, but writers and musicians: Thomas Pynchon, Charles Ives, William Burroughs, Zora Neale Hurston, Ishmael Reed, Tom Waits, Don DeLillo, Italo Calvino… it's a long list.
   My photographic work seems to be split into two distinct groups, the first being straight documentary work, without any manipulation of the image. The second group explores strange areas of my unconscious, communicating on a less literal and more poetic level.I enjoy both groups equally; they often refer to the same themes in different ways.
   I carry a camera with me wherever I go, so that (theoretically at least) I can see a scene unfold in front of me and be ready for it. In practice, I miss a lot, although over time I'm more able to anticipate scenes before they unfold. Psychic photography.
   On the technical side… My main camera is a Nikon FM-2 with a normal, sharp 50mm lens. The original negatives for this series are all perfectly sharp and normally exposed, on ordinary Ilford HP5. All of the manipulation was done in the darkroom, using a diffusion technique I discovered by pushing the variables to their extremes just to see what would happen. I'm currently working on a new series of photos where the manipulation happens a step earlier, in the camera, using a "lousy" lens and "bad" lighting, which I will then print badly. What fun.

                      — David Adam Edelstein


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