I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TELL YOU

When we meet someone, we tend to form impressions about who that person is based on what they say, how they look, or how they act. Photography and other lens-based mediums can help us to perceive an individual, allowing the viewer infinite time to examine appearance and gesture. Nevertheless, this act of representation is only an act of imagination. It is our projection of the reality of their lives.

In this body of work, I photographed close friends and strangers. The only suggestion of the nature of our relationship is from a small caption embedded in each image. These captions were based on my knowledge of the people I knew, or on my impressions of the people I did not. Their visual subtlety allows the viewer to first experience the photograph as a whole, and then to re-examine the subject upon the discovery of the text.

The purpose of the text in both bodies of work is not necessarily to describe the subject. It is to demonstrate the effect of words that accompany photographs of people: despite a lack of context, the viewer assumes a sense of the individual. This assumption is a natural reaction; at the same time, it is indicative of the limitations of visual mediums in the representation of the subject. Both caption and photograph are evidence of this: ambiguous insights, they are fragmented pieces of the whole story.

2011

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