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Category: Nature

Patrick Heagney: Paper Thin

Artist’s Statement:

A famous thought experiment, known as ‘The Brain in a Vat,’ prompts you to consider the possibility that at this very moment you are actually just a brain hooked up to a sophisticated computer program that can perfectly simulate the experiences of the outside world. Think: The Matrix.

If you cannot be sure that you aren’t just a brain in a vat, and logically there’s no way of being 100% certain, then you cannot rule out the possibility that everything you know and believe about the outside world is false. The only reality we can know is that which is represented by human thought. Specifically, our own thoughts. Each of us actively creates our own reality by analyzing our observations and experiences and arranging the information to fit into our worldview. Occasionally our realities contradict each other.

The characters in these pictures have all encountered versions of reality different from their own and been overwhelmed by them. It could be finding out that someone trusted has been deceiving them, that a hero has been exposed as flawed and corrupt; or that some fundamental ideas about the world at large have been shown to be false. Or on the positive side it could be the realization that a dream they thought was completely unattainable, is actually within reach. Or something that has terrified them has revealed itself to be just a paper tiger.

Artist’s Bio:

I was born in New Jersey. Tragically, my family relocated to northern Virginia before I could develop a good Jersey accent (or eat solid foods, for that matter). We settled in the suburbs outside of Washington D.C. which is where, at age 15, I got my first camera – a hand-me-down Canon AE-1. Any plans for getting a ‘real’ job when I grew up went out the window shortly thereafter.

I studied photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Afterwards, I moved to Atlanta and I’ve been living and working there, since. A few of the clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with include Bristol Myers-Squibbs, Georgia Tech, BULGARI, Wilson Staff, Tanger Outlet Malls, and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

In addition to assignment work I enjoy pursuing personal projects and creating what I’ve been told is “Fine Art.” My fancy art-photography is represented by Kai Lin Art in Atlanta and has been shown in galleries across the country.

When I’m not doing any of the above you can usually find me traveling, ideally in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language. Or playing banjo to my cat, who may or may not enjoy it.