Tuesday, 13 July 2010

"the inadequacy of treating photographs as random snapshots from an imaginary continuous loop of time and life"

As my exhibition piece is to deal with the life experiences, trauma, soul searching, identity construction and emotional navigation of an individual, i've been wrestling with the issue that my images show neither the past nor the present. Im struggling to define what is being displayed and this morning i've come round to the thinking that they should not be viewed as 'this person is currently feeling' , or 'this person once felt' . The exhibition images should be viewed as an 'is' , 'never' or 'possibility'.

It seems fairly difficult to type out what I mean, but after searching the library for texts surrounding photography and trauma, I found a book from Ulrich Baer (2002) entitled 'Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma.' Baer deals with recalibrating the mind not to view history and time as flowing and sequential. He asserts that by doing this we will recognise what we see/fail to see in photographs.

It seems vital to consider this type of gaze when dealing with an individual's home and life. The book is a little heavy going in places but i'm persevering and will add further comment. Two interesting quotes useful for my project;

"In the photograph, time itself seems to have been carved up and ferried, unscathed, into the viewer's present." (Baer, 2002)

"...photographs are unsettling. Some images bypass painstaking attempts at contextualization and deliver, straight up and apparently across the gulf of time between viewer and photographically mummified past, a potent illusion of the real." (Baer, 2002)

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