About Austin McCaffrey
Local artist Austin McCaffrey is a person of many talents, practicing a variety of artforms including music, poetry, and photography. Austin has both performed and exhibited work in numerous DIY New Brunswick art shows, events which are often organized in the homes of students or recently graduated residents of the city, and which provide invaluable platforms for amateur and aspiring artists to develop their crafts.
Austin’s photography developed as a means of mimicking a personal anxiety: the fixation on and self-identification with images of decay. Dissatisfied with society’s desire to ostracize and erase these images from view, he sought to recover and record these abstractions – often in the form of decomposing urban landscapes – thus acknowledging one’s own inevitable deterioration. Through this acknowledgement, McCaffrey has also embraced other ideals, such as the rejection of normative social values and adoption of nihilistic philosophies.
McCaffrey’s featured work focuses on the documentation of a new set of images: lawn ornaments, grave markers and advertisements. By capturing decorative elements that are intended for public display under normal circumstances within intense framing, his images force the viewer into an uncomfortable position that ventures into voyeurism. He anthropomorphizes inanimate objects and transforming their scenes into private and personal moments not meant for the prying eyes of outsiders. Through Austin’s unique perspective, lawn ornaments and deconstructed pieces of the city become analogies for the human condition.
My name is Austin McCaffrey and I’m a photographer based in New Brunswick; I photograph not only here but in the Newark/Jersey City area as well. I graduated from Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences this past summer cum laude, with honors, and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. I have been previously exhibited in numerous DIY art shows around New Brunswick and by the SASHP Artists’ Collective. In high school I also won a Silver Key in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for my photograph What Tape.
I was moved first and foremost to photograph as a means of mimicking an anxiety I experience which fixates upon images of decay with which I identify; these images being defined, in part, by society’s desire to ostracize and erase them, said anxiety deconstructed and made them liminal, almost impossible to experience without an implied violation of my own coherence as a referent. To recover these abstractions from smokestacks, old factories and fallen phone lines was to revivify my own liminality and was, in part, how I found myself queer and a nihilist. My focus now is to document long, restless treks I take through the various cities in which my identity is deconstructed to the extent that it is livable… mostly through identifying with those other images who have sought personification, deification, or in the least anthropomorphism: lawn ornaments, grave markers, and advertisements. It is my task to unveil their revelation of human frailty.
Artist Personal Website: https://www.facebook.com/theconvincingactor/