Photography can have a powerful impact on both the audience and the photographer. As the photographer, this series has been very cathartic due to the personal aspect of the project. After losing my mother recently, the quickly progressing dementia in my father-in-law had pushed me into a place where I needed to process the emotions. Shooting these images has enabled me to find a place of purpose and use the influence of art to share a story that at one time or another touches us all.
Artist Statement The inevitability of aging and the peripheral ailments that accompany this process is something I have witnessed first hand through the relationship with my father-in-law. I have watched him deteriorate over the years, first mentally and now physically. The memories in my mind of a vivacious and loving man are in contrast with what I see now, the slow unraveling of life. With mortality as the subject, my images are not of just anyone. They are images that provide an intimate and private perspective of a man’s difficulties as well as his perseverance and resolve.
My project challenges the viewer to look closely with their eyes, imagine what they might hear with their ears, and reflect on their own life and ponder their own mortality. My photographs capture the evidence of an ailing man’s life to communicate the soul that still exists within the universal inevitability of aging. Using a documentary style, I seek to explore the visualization of life through the consecutive moments that pass before our eyes, literally and figuratively.
The interesting aspect of Newark, NJ and any other metropolitan downtown area, are the sights and sounds that intermix and layer on top of each other to create a scene that is unique unto its own. The Gallery Aferro, located on Market Street in Newark, is “an artist-originated organization serving a diverse community through the import and export of ideas.” They also have a year round residency program.
In a recent exhibition, Venae Cavae,an interactive video art installation by artists Marc D’Agusto and Eric Valosin, uses sculpture and light installation, as well as video.
“Like the veins of the same name in human body, which carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart to be revitalized,the viewer and passersby are transported into the landscape, to become signs of life, light, and vitality amidst the ambiguously apocalyptic landscape.”
The interactive installation is activated by those that walk in front of it. This creates a relationship between the art, the viewer, and the space in which it is seen.
Reading through chapter 7 of Liz Wells’ Photography: A Critical Introduction, the subject of electronic imaging is discussed by theorists and art critics. In the chapter, the “truthfulness” of photography is an important discussion when considering digital or analog photography. Does digital photography remove the truth? What is the truth? What is “normal”?
Sarah Kember, a writer on new media, photography and feminist culture, suggests that what is real “has already been lost in the act of representation.” If you create a representation of someone or something, are you truth? Or real? Photographs may be a true representation of the image that has been captured but some will argue that the photograph is not the “truth”.
Authentic is another label used to describe an image, whether analog or digital. Authentic: based on facts; accurate or reliable. I would have to say that a photographic image could be authentic, based on facts, something that resembles the original. Truth, on the other hand, means that which is in accordance (conforming) with fact or reality. Does an image conform to reality? Maybe…I will let you know when I figure it out.
London based photography students Luke Evans and Joshua Lake decided to take film processing to the next level. They swallowed the film. Put into a capsule in order to avoid the film scratching the intestines, the two graphic design and photography students swallowed the film, excreted it, cleaned it, and processed it.
The results are astonishing. The black and white, enlarged images look as if they could have been taken in outer space. Ironically, they were taken at an inner space where no man has gone before, without being cut wide open.
Would I be willing to swallow film to have an intimate look at my interior? Probably not, but I would certainly enjoy seeing the results of the brave student who did!
Work in Progress #4. My last critique before my final portfolio is due in a few weeks. This has been an emotional and tedious process. Creating photographs in a documentary style makes me look at the subject matter in a different light.
The images I selected were formatted into a triptych. This allows the viewer to engage the images in a sequential order. Faces portrays three images that have been taken within minutes of each other to reveal the slight variation of facial expressions. These expressions are a language spoken by the subject and deciphered on an individual basis by each viewer.
Kilroy is a triptych that evokes a mysterious and unknown place. A place where age and dementia cannot be described by the subject of the image; a language that the viewers must decode and translate for themselves.
Toothbrush is a single image that shows the frustration of everyday activities that were once commonplace but now seem alien.
This semester has stirred my emotions and pulled apart my ideas of photography and art. Once again, as in a previous art course, the challenge has broadened my views and encouraged me to explore new genres.
The twenty-first century has brought new discoveries, inventions, and ways of displaying old practices. Today, we have smart phones that are mere inches and art installations that are hundreds of feet tall. The old guard has welcomed a new friend “On and beyond the white walls.” This is exciting to see and be part of within a community. Liz Wells talks about the photograph being more than an aesthetic; it is a practice that has gone beyond the galleries and into our communities.
Wells mentions community workshops for teachers and community workers that eventually develop new audiences for photography as an art practice. The arts are not only a cultural asset, but they are social and economic assets as well. Developing a grassroots organization that supports the cultural value of the arts, specifically photography, can nurture the appreciation and practice of photography through neighborhood and community projects. Bringing art outside the gallery walls creates a new audience and opportunity for cultural regeneration. Each community has its own history. What role has photography played in its history? What part will it play in the future? Can we integrate photography as both art and practice into our communities to enhance the established culture?