Susan Copich Stages A Darkly Humorous And Disturbing Family Life In “Domestic Bliss”

Bath Time

Bath Time

Mommy Time

Mommy Time

Happy Days

Happy Days

Reaching middle-age, photographer Susan Copich was feeling disillusioned with her acting career, disenchanted with her marriage, and, when she noticed her absence from every family photo, as if she were disappearing. Her solution was to create the series “Domestic Bliss,” staged photos featuring her in darkly humorous scenes from an exaggerated life.

“I use proverbs, idioms, and biblical scriptures as a conduit to reach my inner creativity while grounding it to something real. Social observation continues to fuel my inspiration. The use of humor allows me to mock the worlds I traipse through while permitting the viewer to live vicariously through the character. I project my thoughts into a frozen a moment in time, allowing the story to continually unfold in front of you.”

She tackles topics like unsupervised children with access to guns, women and food, and homicidal anger, as well as lighter topics such as Christmas cards and crying over spilt milk. Some of the images are very dark, indeed, such as “Bath Time” with its implication of double murder/suicide, and “Anger Management,” which depicts Copich, with unkempt hair and Diane von Furstenberg dress, in the act of wringing the family dog’s neck in front of her daughters.

“I dwell in the dark thoughts and recesses of my mind to create character and subject, in order to project them into a frozen moment of time, allowing the story to continue to unfold bilaterally for the viewer. I feel a certain freedom to live vicariously through these characters to engage, seek to navigate (and, no less, avoid), both my own personal imperatives as woman, artist, mother, and wife, as well as those – personal, social and cultural – that are imposed on me by others.”

The photos are funny and disturbing, polarizing and attention-grabbing. It seems that Susan Copich is in no danger of disappearing any time soon.

All photos by Susan Copich, courtesy of Moen Mason Gallery. (Via Demilked)

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Arthur Tress’ Haunting And Mythological Childhood Dream Interpretations

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Published in 1973, Arthur Tress‘ photo book, The Dream Collector, features visions of childhood dreams and nightmares. Tress began shooting these dream scenarios in the 1960s, first speaking with children about their dreams and nightmares, then staging an interpretation of the children’s visions via photography. During the 60s, staged photography was a rather new development within the photography medium; most photographers were taking shots on the streets. Over the next 20 years, Tress developed his trademark black and white, mythological, surreal photography. The Dream Collector collection represents Tress’ particular style while expressing “how the child’s creative imagination is constantly transforming his existence into magical symbols for unexpressed states of feeling or being.”

“The children would be asked means of acting out their visions or to suggest ways of making them into visual actualities,” Tress explains. “Often the location itself, such as an automobile graveyard or abandoned merry-go-round, would provide the possibility of dreamlike themes and spontaneous improvisation to the photographer and his subjects. In recreating these fantasies there is often a combination of actual dream, mythical archetypes, fairytale, horror movie, comic hook, and imaginative play. These inventions often reflect the child’s inner life, his hopes and fears…”

The Getty Museum recently acquired 66 of Tress’ photographs from two collections, including images from The Dream Collector. (via juxtapoz and gothamist)

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