University of New Hampshire Art Gallery

Durham, NH



Light Construction: Photo-sculptures by Doug Prince


Innovation comes naturally to Doug Prince. By using new technology with classically beautiful black and white images, Prince is able to create real and surreal photographs that provoke the imagination. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Prince received his B.A. from the University of Iowa, followed by an M.F.A. in photography. Prince currently works at the University of New Hampshire in the office of Instructional Services as a staff photographer. In his spare time, he is an internationally known photographer.

Prince's photo-sculptures, which the artist calls "photo-boxes," are three-dimensional works that are approximately six inches square. The artist prints images on translucent film, places them between Plexiglas panels, and layers them in a Plexiglas viewing box. The boxes are lit from behind giving the layered images an eerie three-dimensional quality. Professor Robert Craven of New Hampshire College writes, "In Doug Prince's photo-sculptures, we find the sensibility of a metaphysical poet who creates other worlds from the disparate elements around us. The difference is that in Prince's creations those poetic elements are made visible, an invitation to see the world in a new way, to make new connections." (left: Man Over Manhattan, 1996, photo-sculpture, graphic arts film and plastic, 5 x 5 2.5 inches)

Looking back on his early influences, Doug Prince remarks, "[Building pictures with graphic arts film and plastic] probably goes back to normal childhood play with small environments: miniature landscapes under an oak tree, electric trains, Lincoln logs, Easter eggs containing landscapes, plastic models of planes and boats. This kind of play allows a child to grasp the larger reality of the outside world and make it an internal world, that can be better understood and controlled. The magic of these miniature worlds continues to fascinate me." Prince sees himself working in two parallel modes. One is the realistic vision, in which various elements are arranged in a logical order, "distilled into a clearer vision of the everyday." The second is a more surreal vision in which "ordinary objects are placed in environments under extraordinary circumstances that question the natural order of things." Doug Prince's order, as he arranges it, is something that amuses, perplexes, and sometimes saddens. These small photo-sculptures create a lasting impression.

Light Construction was organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 4/6/11

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