Lissa Rivera Absence Portraits

Found photographs have intrinsic qualities that shape our perceptions of an image and inform our
understanding of its time, place, and socioeconomic circumstances. By digitally removing the
person from old cabinet card portraits, Rivera reveals an artificial environment created by the
photographer to heighten the perception of the subject. Bereft of the individual, only a stage
remains. The tension between presence and absence is heightened by the placement of objects
that were meant to compliment the body of a person no longer there. The stage that we see is a
perfect tableaux of projected desires and fantasies. In an attempt to transcend class and location
during a time when photography was mostly restricted to the studio, a virtual environment is
created which eerily resonates with our digital age.