Following the recommendations of the course materials I looked at One in 8 Million on YouTube. I really like the way the images are presented with the audio, and I like the subject as I was lucky enough to spend several months in New York so I feel I have a tenuous connection with it. I feel a combination of envy and sympathy for the people who live there. It’s not a friendly place; during my time there I found it very difficult to get to know anyone. Even eye contact or friendly asides to strangers seems unwelcome there. To me One in 8 Million seems like an attempt to connect people, who often seem quite transitory and disconnected, by providing some means of understanding and making individuals – invisible in the huge crowds I often found myself in – stand out. I really like the idea of using audio with still photography and began to explore it while I was studying EYV. To me it seems to be a slightly more sophisticated version of a lot of work made about individuals in New York, like Humans of New York or the tounge-in-cheek Instagram account, calendar and book, ‘Hot Dudes Reading,’ which features supposedly candid photographs of men reading books on the New York subway.
I liked the work of Kaylyn Deveney. I looked at The Day-to-Day Life of Alfred Hastings, I also thought Edith and Len was very moving. I found Karen Knorr’s work ‘Gentlemen’ more difficult to connect with, although I suppose for me the actual photographic aesthetic was more to my taste, the subject was more difficult for me to connect with. Part of that is that I am viewing it on a small screen and I just cannot see text and image together, but also the themes are less immediate for me and have less relevance for my everyday life. However, I thought the images on the homepage were stunning.
I hadn’t seen Duane Michals’ work before. I like it. I found the text almost impossible to read in places and so I would like to see it on a larger screen or in-the-flesh. I really liked the diptych ‘Women Live in Liquids’. Michals’ text talks of blood, milk, tears and amniotic fluid, but as a Jewish woman the ritual bath, the mikvah, that some Jewish women immerse themselves in every month after menstruation came to my mind. Some of Michals’ work reminds me of some work I saw at Tate Modern by Carolee Schneemann which was mainly stills and text. The text really appealed to me and so I took photographs of some of it. I’m not sure, looking at her work online, exactly why the link with Schneemann came to mind – but it did. I think Schneemann’s work included images of paraphernalia around menstruation, like a used tampon, and perhaps that is where the link with Women Live in Liquids comes in?
Either way, I think the use of text in This Photograph is My Proof is very clever as it tells the story, including shifts in time, in a single sentence. The image of a couple together with the text saying things like, ‘she did love me, it did happen’, provides us with information for a whole and complete picture – although it might not be a true one.