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Stephen Waddell’s book Hunt and Gather, published in 2011 by Steidl in Germany, is descriptive, by title, of his process and intention. It isn’t anthropological in referring to stages in the development of homo sapiens, making our way; it describes instead Waddell’s preference, pursuit and methodology. He wants an image, takes it from life—a form of street photography with fully applied impediments—seeks its source in a history of visualization, a tributary art historical bank of images, real or close to that, and waits and hunts and looks and finally seizes the image when it presents itself. He’d been luring and tracking it all along, the bait set somewhere in his own accretive art historical image bank. You see it in A Resting Worker, 2000, an archival inkjet print, its painterliness unmistakable. Its source is perhaps Manet’s The Dead Man (The Dead Toreador), 1864–65, but in Waddell’s photograph there is no sign of violence or death—just a figure taking some ease, or is its visual reference Waddell’s painting A Resting Worker ll, which preceded it by two years? Preceeded it in seeing, or making, opening up nicely the question of what are the sources of an image, anyway? From where does their materialization spring?

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