Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"All Good Evidence is in Black and White"

I'm working on a new series over break. It's more conceptually based than technically based. It's also my first autobiographical series, which is kind of scary and kind of exhilarating at the same time. It also makes total sense, I mean if there's one thing I know anything about, it's me. Maybe?

Anyway, I had the idea for this series the other day when I was cleaning out one of my email inboxes and found a really nasty hurtful letter from an ex boyfriend. So I started thinking about the truly horrible things that have been said or written to me, and I came up with 5 instance that have really stuck with me throughout the years and have played a part in the shaping (or deconstruction) of my self confidence and my confidence in friendships.

At first I wasn't sure how I wanted to incorporate them photographically, but I talked it over with my aunt at Denny's last night over divine pure-sugar cappuccinos with free refills, and we decided to take a more documentary-style police evidence approach, but I want it to have a very obvious amateur and obsessive feel, and include some espionage elements. As a friend of mine put it, like Harriet the Spy.

Influences on the final form and evolution of this project are primarily Peter Hunner's marvelous and beautiful self portrait series, Annette Messager's series of appropriated wedding announcements with the brides names replaced with her own, and Sophie Calle's L'hôtel.

Looking more at Sophie Calle as I write this, I found an article about her fairly recent project "Take Care of Yourself," where she had 107 different professional women from different fields read and analyze a break up email from an ex boyfriend. I think this is almost a direct descendant of that, even though only 2 of the 5 are ex boyfriends. Cool. I had no idea this project even existed.

My two hiccups on this project are:

- it has been misinterpreted by a few people as vengeful or pouty when explained to them. I don't think those will come across in the final project and I certainly hope they don't. This project is about documenting and sharing life-shaping experiences that have stuck with me for years and I'm sure will stay for a long time. This project is a way to get the poison out of my soul. It is not about ruining lives or wanting pity or anything.

- in my haste to get out of town at a decent hour in the morning last week, I left my camera in my living room in Minneapolis. Awesome. Not. I should be able to get by with my point-and-shoot. After all, I wanted an amateur look to the actual evidence I'm going to be photographing nicely later.

Anyway, I'm very excited for this project despite the misinterpretations. I was hoping to finish it before break is over, but I'm getting back a week early, so I can still finish it in Minneapolis.

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