“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'[.]”
Category: Camera Reality
“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.”
If what Grounded presents in pencil sketch is important, why not photograph it? Perhaps to say that a photograph can cut short clarity like it can bisect body parts and for better or worse we sometimes have to sketch in what is not there.
“Changes and experiences that were incredibly difficult for me are, in hindsight, beautiful and full of meaning and rooted in that landscape and with those neighbors. I still mourn that place and question leaving—it has a piece of my heart and always will.”
If Wipe Your Nose Sugar Boy is situated within Southern Gothic themes, Albain wastes no time getting directly to one of its most central themes—religion. […] Vanity plates and discarded signs indicate that Wipe Your Nose Sugar Boy is set at least in part, in Tennessee. A dead bird, tattered things covered in tarps, and overgrown fauna that follow suggest that in Albain’s South, the gospel is less about prosperity and more about the realism of muted gray tones.
“I want to work through the visual problem of not what a photograph is of, but what it is about and how do I, as a viewer and maker, understand, appreciate, and create that meaning from the experience of viewing. Is the photograph a neutral space in which we are being invited in, or is it charged with meaning and we are expected to respond in whatever way we think is appropriate. It can be difficult.”
Each short chapter of Maximum Sunlight is an account of an encounter with a resident of the town—anecdotal stories of drunkenness, lost jobs, skin heads, juke boxes, the government, and resilience. Each chapter is like the edges of a photograph—sometimes abruptly dissecting and at times cutting short what happened outside the frame or the rest of the story.
A place like Ohio leaves enough space for Ohio Country even if unintentionally, to be political—not necessarily about politicians and constituents but rather, regarding public affair. Like the subject matter in the context of the camera frame, Ohio Country exists in the context of political turmoil in America.
Macau 5.0 acts as summative detail of a place and its people as reported with about as much straight forward clear purposed objectivity as a camera can muster.
In “Everything is Going to Be All Right” Jared Ragland reflects on his personal history living in the American South and visually narrates the existential journey of Walker Percy’s character, Binx Bolling from the 1961 novel, The Moviegoer.
“In my work and in my life, I’m interested in how we can choose to live with the things unknown, how we proceed forward anyway even amidst the things that we can’t know yet, or may never know.”
“I sometimes find it seemingly impossible to escape this infiltrative schema of influence/interest/conviction… but it’s a crucial and constant excercise to view from outside of the goggles fashioned by upbringing, systems of belief and a personal everyday sense of doom.”