In the late 1970s, Fichter began staging elaborate still life constructions using everyday and found objects including taxidermy, children’s toys, and mass media ephemera. Many of these photographs weave together ideas and imagery that Fichter had pursued previously in other mediums, bringing to life a familiar cast of characters, including Mr. Bones and Fish-Out-Oh-Water, in collages ready-made for the camera. Several photographs include reproductions of earlier drawings and prints, creating a meta-commentary on the imaginative world built by the artist.
Fichter’s experimental approach expanded to include digital processes with the 1984 introduction of the Apple Macintosh computer and graphics software MacPaint. Soon after it became available, the artist used the new tool to create a body of work published as After Eden. Full of humorous allusions and art historical references, the book functions like a medieval bestiary—a compendium of stories that describes the characteristics of various creatures and life forms—summarizing many of the major symbols, themes, and influences central to Fichter’s art. Fichter returned to digital expressions several times, including in a series of Photoshop collages made toward the end of his teaching career in 2006.