“I certainly believe in the importance of bearing witness to what stands before us (or as photographers, what we choose to stand before), while honoring that we may not know or understand what it is we are actually seeing, and may never.”
Remembrance is just as prevalent in Birmingham-based fine art photographers Jared Ragland and Cary Norton’s collaborative project GUSDUGGER—of which the series Where You Come From Is Gone is included—as it was integral to the 2016 political campaign slogan: Make America Great Again, but the two could perhaps not be further divided. If MAGA remembers a time we as Americans are to reclaim, then Where You Come From Is Gone remembers what we took and the places deconstructed to make this country what it is today.
“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'[.]”
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.
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.