Amir Zaki has an ongoing interest in the rhetoric of authenticity, as it is associated with photography as an indexical media. Simultaneously, he is deeply invested in exploring digital technology’s transformative potential to disrupt that assumed authenticity. While this may initially sound like a standard and tired postmodern trope, his interest is not in utilizing digital trickery as illustration to undermine a photograph’s veracity. Zaki often creates hybridized photographs that use the vocabulary of the documentary style so that the viewer’s belief in its veracity remains intact, at least initially.
Zaki constructs scenes that are somewhat off-register and ever so slightly faux. He often uses the architectural landscape of Southern California as a subject, as it seems particularly appropriate to his process. This is largely because, either through media myth, reality or a combination of the two, the architecture and surrounding landscape in Southern California is itself an evolving bastardization of styles and forms, in other words a pastiche. It should be made clear that although Zaki is fascinated and inspired by this architectural and cultural entropy, his intention is not to record, replicate or simply document a preexisting postmodern pastiche. More precisely, his work begins with the familiar, by looking at objects, structures and locations that are often pedestrian and banal.