Portrait Series

Portrait Series, 2003

Invisible systems within American culture guide us through our daily lives, controlling us, or at the very least, seducing us into cooperation. My work explores everyday social constructs, which are often taken for granted.  Through what moves in and out of our bodies and minds on a daily basis we, as individuals, are in a constant shift between being part of the system and being apart from the system.  Time is particularly compelling as society raises the ante on speed and convenience with each year that passes.  It is this intersection of time, speed and convenience in Western culture that brought me to working with pills.  Using pills to (quickly) gain control of the body has become mainstream through corporate pharmaceutical giants, their flock of commercials, and the doctor’s financially incentivesed cooperation in prescribing.  One no longer needs to be aging or seriously ailing to have an arsenal of prescription drugs in their medicine cabinet.  The idea of “pill culture” is compelling because one is able to control their body, to a degree, with pills (“Take Advil and take control” – Advil slogan), but in turn they are being controlled by the larger system producing the drugs and dictating the larger social structure.

“Portrait Series” is a series of photographs of people’s daily pill regiments. The portraits are of friends, family, co-workers and acquaintance’s prescription and over-the-counter pills, which they take on a daily basis.  The photos also call attention to the mass consumption of pharmaceuticals and herbal supplements by the average American between 25-55 years of age.  In a fast-paced culture where time is at a premium, even headaches and heartburn must be eradicated at record speed.  Like cell phones and PDA’s, pills are increasingly becoming another time management tool.

All photographs are 20 x 24″  C-prints