Plastic Imagination

Mackenzie Calle

2019 - Ongoing

New York, United States; California, United States

Plastic Imagination is an ongoing series of photographs of familiar objects that have been crystalized by submersion in a solution. The naturally forming crystals act as a preserving agent for man-made objects – creating fossil-like sculptures out of everyday items. The photos convey the frozen timelessness of their mundanity. But also, to recognize that mundanity is a matter of opinion, and shaped by personal experience. Any object can be exciting and new if it has never been seen before, or seen in a new light.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, our world has been inverted to the point that our former monotony has become alien. A quick glimpse out of an apartment window in January 2020 would see a bustling street. The same window in March is a landscape where the people are a threat, stores are a cesspool, and the cement sidewalk might as well be lava.

Interspersed with the crystalline images are photos that, whether through the use of inversion or gels to capture unnatural color in camera, are slightly different than would be seen walking down the street. A quick glimpse and someone could even say they weren’t captured on Earth. This is a now familiar feeling when comparing our past ‘normal’ surroundings to those in the pandemic-stricken world.

Photographed in New York and California over a year’s span, this series is my view of a changing globe. Our plasticity is being tested and it will continue to be. It’s hard to say when, if ever, normalcy will return or what our new definition mundanity will be.

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