In the creation of Autobiography, the photographer Jacinda Russell was inspired by collectors and hoarders, those compelled by the impulse to save seemingly insignificant objects as markers of meaningful experience. Driven by the photographic impulse to catalog her own life, she turned to what she calls “inconsequential objects are one aspect of [her] identity, easily disposable yet somehow kept:” cut hair, an old toy, fallen teeth.
Each meticulously-shot object serves as a tangible reminder of a particular section of her life; for example, the artist tracks the years from 2000-2007 with hair and swimsuits. The obsessive lens through which she views each cherished object expresses the desperate impulse to fix moments and spans of time within discernible possessions. Like a catalog of carefully pinned butterflies, each object is preserved multiple times over: once they are set aside, they are vacuum-sealed or placed in jars, only to be framed in the center of each shot with unnerving precision. Russell’s high-resolution shots scrupulously reveal and memorialize even the smallest details: the fibers of towels, the stains on clothing, the remarkable tonality of nail clippings.
The narrative of the series is hard to follow, and therein lies its power; the viewer is tasked with the impossible exercise of constructing a life between bookend-like photographs of chopped hair. What emerges from the powerful work is not the objects themselves, or even whatever personal and mysterious experiences they might symbolize, but the artist’s movingly frantic and ultimately futile attempt to immortalize what is already gone. Take a look. (via Lenscratch)
The 27-year-old Fortunato Castro grow up listening to his mother recall vivid memories of her youth in El Salvador. Now a photographer, Castro returns to images of his mother at his age. The art theorist Roland Barthes once wrote about his search for his late mother within photographs of her; in the series Some Girl, Some Where, Castro takes it a step further, animating the vintage photographs by dressing and posing as his mother.
In the poignant series, Castro doesn’t intend to impersonate his mother in a literal sense; rather, the images read as a son seeking to understand his mother and her youth by physically placing himself in her shoes. Each image is shot with earnest reverence; every gesture he sees his mother make is carefully mimicked, from the concentrated application of mascara to the self-conscious covering of the chest.
Photographically, Castro sees differences in the images of young women today and of his mother’s generation. The modern snapshots that permeate our culture, he suggests, are more casual and candid; a girl takes a shot of her friends as they get ready for a night out, or a woman sends an intimate selfie to her lover. The photographs of his mother’s youth are more serious and polished, and he conveys that elegantly, acknowledging the viewer in each image and positioning himself with careful deliberation.
The obvious sexuality of the photographs remain touchingly innocent; Castro’s curiosity about his mother’s body reads more like a confessional than an exploitation. He returns to the sensual exploration of childhood, using his own body to navigate his feelings about his mother’s. Take a look. (via NYMag)