Life is not fair. For over a decade Chicago based artist Jason Salavon has been experimenting with over-layering and averaging images to come up with composites that explore iconic american typologies. Kids posing with a department store Santa Claus, high-school yearbook portraits, pictures of homes for sale, playboy centerfolds. The photographs are intellectually provocative, and visually engaging, but for some reason Salavon's work has never made it into the red hot center of contemporary art. It's too bad because they deserve to be.
Here are some of works. Above, the first of his "Every Playboy Centerfold, The Decades" from 2002. The series presents the mean average of every Playboy centerfold by decade from the 1960s to the 1990s. Below you'll find the rest of the series - the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
Two years after Salavon's"Playboy" pictures were made, Idris Khan graduated from England's Royal College of Art and began to make it big-time with his own layered multiple exposures of re-photographed images. I'm not saying Khan was even aware of Salavon, and I'm actually a big fan of Khan's, but the right school, the right gallery, and the right timing can make all the difference.
Salavon's 1999 picture below from the series "Homes for Sale" takes 124 photographs of homes for sale in the 5 Boroughs of New York and digitally combines them using both the mean and the median. (Compare with some of Khan's pictures from the link above.)
"The Class of 1967" and "The Class of 1988" (below) are amalgamations of all the graduating men and women in both Salavon and his mother's Fort Worth Texas high school classes. Half dream, half memory, you can almost recognize the individual before they slip back into the ur-portrait of their particular generation.