[...] Indeed, there is a lot of detail in many of the photographs in this project. A lot to look at, a lot to get lost in.
Detail, of course, has always been part of the photographic illusion, part of its sleight of hand. Open the shutter and the camera will receive the light bouncing off whatever is before it. It could be a blank white wall. It could be a million pebbles. A photographer may have considered every little detail before taking the picture, or barely looked at all.
That possibility lurks in every camera image. We cannot look at a photograph with the same indifference, the same mathematical rationality with which the camera recorded it. To look at a photograph, any photograph, is to intuit that while it has been made to be seen, ultimately it does not belong to us. It belongs to the camera from which it came. And while the camera shows us worldly things according to its own construction, it leaves those things exactly as it found them.
This is an unusual series of photographs. Peter Fraser has shot them in many countries and his motifs could hardly be more varied. Only the theme of mathematics, as the photographer has understood it, could have brought these pictures together. And what of the enigmatic portraits that punctuate the series? Fraser has revealed that just before taking photographing five or six of these people he asked them to imagine that something they had held to be true for most of their life had just been proved wrong. We do not know what these people were thinking, what axiom each has imaginatively and momentarily undone. Fraser could not have known either. But in those brief states of self-critical thought, when contemplation was itself being contemplated, he photographed them. These portraits anchor the project but they also provide its most reflexive moments. There are deep affinities between the states of mind depicted here and what Fraser might be inviting from us, his flawed and inconsistent audience.
- David Campany
Text by Mark Durden and David Campany