Monday, April 6, 2009

side-yard apparition (with chickens)

I love this picture. A man in a suit and white shoes cornered into the fenced side yard by the chickens he's apparently feeding. If photos are taken as evidence of something having happened, it invites curious speculation over the reasons why snapshots like this one were taken. The place is obscure, the white house in the background ecclipsed by fencing. The man is small and unrecognizable, the event mundane. Photos were expensive when this one was taken, probably in the 1910's or 20's, and snap shots from this era are rare-- usually shots are of formal portraits or serve as documentation of places or special events. Photography is interesting because it is so new-- a tool accessible to most only in the last 100 years. Still so new and already on it's way out (according to some), and replaced by film. It's existence as an art making tool is even shorter-- having started as a documentarian medium for the press and not really taking off as Art until the 1950's. In the photographs of my collection the look of photographs changes so quickly with each decade-- the move from b & w to color, the take-off of the snap shot, the paper photos are printed on, what people write on the backs, the quantity and thoroughness of sequenced shots, the things people wear, the expressions on their faces, the poses of their bodies and the spaces in between them.

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