Cameron HammondBecky Billman (Cake Magazine #14, 2014)

Browsing Hammond’s work I’m reminded of Elmer Batters.

That’s not the most straight forward association, at first blush. However, both produce work that employs a limited but sharply honed visual grammar as well as never attempts to hide the fact that it’s driven by obsessive preoccupation with specific paraphiliae–with Batters it’s stockings, feet and low riding undies, with Hammond it’s sun-drenched summer scenes with swimsuits, water, the utilitarian re-purposing of waist bands and bra straps in lieu of pockets and a sort of hedonistic preoccupation with stereotypical summer/beach foods (popsickes, hotdogs, ice cream, etc.).

What’s interesting is despite Hammond’s limited palette, he does actually make remarkably distinctive work. And what I like about this image in particular is that it’s a good bit more flagrant in it’s coy flirtation than the rest of the work–which presents it more in an off-hand, casual voyeurism sort of mode;whereas this is more confrontational.

But what really works is the synergy between depiction and technique. This image feels very bright to me and I find myself squinting at it to take it in–much as I probably would if I was standing more or less where the camera is. (It’s too contrast-y to be an Eggleston but it uses color to a strikingly similar effect.)

There are other indications in Hammond’s work that this effect isn’t an accident, rendering the accomplishment quite the feat of technical ingenuity.

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