Portfolio: photography and text by Nathan Baker

This body of work, titled Rupture, aims to portray the situation that arises when things break down; when the routine of life pauses and the door is opened for basic, unmediated humanity to step in and replace the automata of contemporary rigor.1Such moments are inflections on how we function on a most basic level, without the societal and psychological influences that we have grown to rely upon. Separated into two distinct groups, the photographs provide a shift for the viewer between directly experiencing this moment and a voyeuristic perspective that allows the viewer the spectacle of watching another in the thrall of this experience.
The pictures sans people focus on the confrontational aspect of a common accident. Objects that are "ready to hand" (defined as things, often taken for granted, that exist as a standing reserve for use) have taken on a new role - one that beckons us to disregard our context of comfort and react innately to the loss of this ready-to-handedness. It's almost as though the objects we have put into servitude have decided to form a coup d'etat against our normality and force us to realize the futility in contriving our lives in this manner.
The next group of photographs depicts scenarios in which people are in this static state - after being presented with a stimulus, yet before a conscious reaction. This moment depicts when the things we have taken for granted step up and remind us of our humanity. The pictures present a perfectly eerie stillness - one that pervades throughout the scenario and represents the shattering of one's assumed identity in relation to their context. 1

Nathan Baker is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. His series "Rupture" can be viewed at Houston Center for Photography in the 25th Anniversary Membership Exhibition, juried by Anne Wilkes Tucker (June 8 - July 8, 2007), or at

1. This project references the "Present at Hand" theory introduced by Martin Heidegger in Being and Time, trans. by Joan Stambaugh (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996).