Jim Kazanjian’s surreal landscapes offer phantasmagoric visions of a where-is-this world, defined by impossibly complex architecture and M.C.Escher-esque black-and-white graphics. Inspired by the imaginary realms of cult author H.P. Lovecraft—whose wild, cosmic short stories set the mold for much of the 20th century’s best science fiction—Kazanjian’s aim is to redress the “misunderstanding that photography has a kind of built-in objectivity…to defamiliarize the familiar.”
It is our trust in photography’s inherent connection with naturalism, then, that makes the deliberate verisimilitude of his works so intriguingly disorienting. And the delightful confusion doesn’t end there: Even the question of whether Kazanjian’s art is photography at all is open to debate, given that he doesn’t shoot any of his own pictures, but rather manipulates “assemblages” of found photographs.