In these works, the image in the print appears as though on a plane with the wall on which the piece is hung. Thus, the print is integrated with the frame, the frame is integrated with the surrounding space, and the print, the frame, and the surrounding space are all integrated together by the light and by the shadows cast.
The objectness of the material upon which photographic images are printed is brought into focus. We are used to looking through the surface of photographic prints at the illusion of space that they create. In this case, the viewer is doing exactly that, and to a heightened degree, while simultaneously looking at an image of a thing that is doing something very different: the paper within the paper is asserting itself as an object of its own right, whose qualities have relevance, whose existence has implications. An illusion is created and an illusion is shattered. This is an image that does something images do not usually do: it acknowledges, explicitly, that it is an image.
Many of Engman's images seem impossible but are encoded with evidence of their own veracity. They are truthful in the sense that what is pictured in a final print is what the camera saw on its final shoot; they are “straight.” They are deceitful, because all photographs are deceitful, but they are truthful in that they tell the truth about their deceit. One of the aims of his work is to reveal, and then revel in, the deceit of images.