Artist Jessamyn Lovell Tracks Down The Person Who Stole Her Identity And Gets Revenge

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In 2011, a woman named Erin Hart stole artist Jessamyn Lovell’s wallet, and eventually her identity, racking up credit card charges, parking tickets, and even a theft charge in Lovell’s name. As an act of retribution for this infuriating and frightening experience, Lovell created an art exhibition called “Dear Erin,” featuring documents, surveillance photos, videos, and interviews documenting Erin Hart’s crime spree. Hell hath no fury like a woman with a stolen identity.

“Using a camera and occupying the varied roles of victim, stalker, investigator, artist, spy, and vigilante, Lovell offers a body of work that touches on contemporary concerns of surveillance and selfhood within the information age.”

The thoroughness of “Dear Erin Hart” is impressive and somewhat alarming. In the attempt to “[understand] this woman and the course of events that brought their lives together,” Lovell hired a private investigator and even photographed Erin Hart being released from jail, a series of photos that are disturbingly stalker-like. The project was exhibited at SF Camerawork from September 3 – October 18, 2014.

Now, in a continuation of the project, Lovell hopes to contact Erin Hart in order to deliver a letter she’s written. She’s raising money for her trip (from Albuquerque, NM where Lovell lives to San Francisco, CA where Hart lives) through the sale of her own photos on Etsy and using a crowd funding campaign posted on her Facebook page.

“Lovell says that her hope is to reach out to her identity thief one more time in an attempt to get her most burning questions answered. Lovell also says that even if her attempt fails and Hart refuses to talk to her, she will at least know Hart knows of Lovell’s existence. She also hopes that Erin Hart will accept the invitation to allow Lovell to interview her and agree to be recorded.”

Erin Case stole Jessamyn Lovell’s identity, time, and peace of mind. Lovell, in relentlessly pursuing her thief, robs her of her anonymity.

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Matthew Christopher Documents Forgotten Spaces In Abandoned America

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Ten years ago Philadelphia photographer Matthew Christopher began a photo series attempting to document the decline of the state hospital system. Today his evocative and beautiful collection, “Abandoned America”, includes images of asylums, institutions, military, hospitals/health care, prisons, schools, power plants, factories, mills, quarries, hotels, transportation, theaters, houses, churches, and graveyards. The photos are beautifully composed and shot and are totally captivating in their emptiness.

“There is an undeniably artistic element to decayed sites, and an immense number of social, theological, and philosophical questions they pose. Abandoned America’s aim encompasses not only the historical and photographic cataloging of such sites, but also on a larger scale a eulogy for the lost ways of life they represent, a statement of their emotional, spiritual, and metaphoric relevance to our everyday lives, and a sense of the visceral experience of entering a parallel universe of silence, rust, and peeling paint.”

The pictures of abandoned spaces seem to want to create a narrative. They ask questions: What is the difference between a place abandoned temporarily and permanently? Is it a matter of chance, of luck? When you walk out the door, are you certain that you’re coming back? What sort of artifacts does a person leave? There is a poignancy to these spaces, a haunted voyeurism, a solemn quality to their emptiness. What lives were being lived here, and why were they interrupted?

Christoper’s book, Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences, will be released on December 7th. He also posts updates on his Facebook page.

“There is something magical and mysterious about spaces that are no longer in use, where nature and time and man’s presence have combined to create something absolutely unique,” says Christopher. “I hope that people reading my book can experience that sense of the transcendental and sublime that I did when I photographed these forgotten places. This book is a chance to examine why we are losing so many sites that are critical to our identity and culture.”

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