“Before Hurricane Irma, I spent a week frantically throwing all of my belongings into plastic bags. […] I came to the obvious realization that most of us, myself included, have an unhealthy addiction to things. Trying to move and protect all of my belongings exhausted me so thoroughly that I simply left some things unwrapped. […] If I’ve learned anything from my subjects, it’s that we humans have a long way to go if we want to continue living on this planet, and we only have to look back a hundred years to understand that we are very capable of living without many of the things we think we ‘need'[.]”
“I’ve always felt that the urban blight was the opposite end of the connective tissue of living. We really can’t have Central Park without the landfill that supports the garbage left there or the bulldozed refuse that created that space […] Someone has felt this before, is feeling this, and perhaps that this is the proper and eventual flow of the universe. I believe it might be through this that we have hope.”
Photographs of burnt out car shells made in detail like insurance claims appear approximately one-third of the way into Colin Stearns’ all that cannot be said. Everything prior—brick walls, a wedding dress and tux on window display, wrought iron fences, flowers left as memorial tied to telephone poles, missing persons signs—read like a long prologue to the charred remains.
Other than poverty, what exactly the cigarettes (and alcohol and drugs) throughout Gravity Is Stronger Here help Dooney’s subject matter escape isn’t fully on display in the photographs alone. Not that poverty is not oppressive enough. Not that it doesn’t promote a feeling of ineptitude. The Browns appear to be stuck and at times seem to not know what to do with their situation any more than what to do in front of the camera. At times they feel very aware of the camera’s presence, mugging unnaturally through their drugs, God, boredom, and a whole lot of doing nothing. But in text and visual clues one learns that the Browns have internal and external struggles. They deal with difficult situations with great self-awareness and honesty. Accompanied by Libaire’s poems the sometimes overly dramatic feels sincere.
“The image is set within a predetermined frame, similar to the ones we are born into. The most we can do is recognize and stay aware of it, they will be wherever we go, including the most sequestered beaches.”
As much intersubjective agreement as possible. Pictures Without Words Volume 001, Issue 002 includes work by Saleem Ahmed, Chris Bentley, Elise Boularan, Leslie Burns, Amanda L. Driggers, Matt Evans, Gretchen Grace, Amanda Greene, Emil Handke, Julie Renee Jones, Tammy Mercure, Lindsay McCarty, Michaela O’Brien, John O’Connor, Miles Price, Matthew Shain, Kurt Simonson, Nabil Tazi, Matt Williams, Sara J. Winston, and Tara Wray.