Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hood. A condition or state of being the thing or being in the role denoted by the word it is suffixed to, usually a noun.

Mother puts on my lipstick, 1993

I watched a really wonderful documentary last night called People*Love*Photos which featured the work and characters of four female photographers, namely Tanyth Berkeley, Rose and Olive (aka Traci Matlock and Ashley Maclean) and finally, a lady who totally blew my socks off, Elinor Carucci.
Menstrual Period, 2000

I'm still trying to figure why I was so smitten by the latter, but in part it had to do with the fact that unlike the other ones, she didn't dress like an artist, nor did she live like one, and somehow it was so refreshing to see and listen to someone not playing "the part". You know, her apartment appeared to be in one of those gigantic condo-buildings in Midtown or The Financial District, furnished with really bland stuff as opposed to filled to the rim with art books and artsy knick-knacks and cool collector's items. Had I not known any better I probably would have mistaken her for, I don't know, a banker! ;O)
Grandfather in Shower, 2000

On top of that I don't quite remember the last time I heard anyone speak so genuinely, thoughtfully and interestingly about their own work as she did, nor can I remember the last time I encountered anyone who managed to so cleverly use their own persona and relationships as the basis of their art work while at the same time not coming across as gag-inducingly self-obsessed. She didn't use overly intellectual language when she spoke of the things her photography was about. Instead she managed to describe it with a simple, wistful sophistication and sensibility, which made her work seem so important and pertinent.
Mother is worried, 1996

As you can see from her site she appears to be very much into examining these "big" - dare I say universal? - categories like pain and comfort - big bold things which I suppose not everyone can get away with because either you try to say too much or you say far too little - and then, it just doesn't matter, does it? But instead her attempts where so perfectly proportioned with whatever "thing" it was that she was trying to mediate. It was as if there was some really wonderful cohesiveness between the formalistic and cerebral aspects of her work.
Haircut, 1994

At one point, while describing some of her newest photography, she said something along the lines of being interested in motherhood, emphasizing the suffix hood and adding that in her previous work it was also the daughterhood or the dancerhood she had been preoccupied with exploring. Such a perfect way to present an artistic idea or aspiration, I think. And it left me feeling: "Hey, this really matters!" And I honestly can't remember the last time I felt that about an artistic product. I mean, I'll admire a lot of art for a bunch of other qualities, but rarely do I feel it genuinely informs or describes or captures the human condition in a way that makes my throat tighten. The way it does when capital T Truth creeps up on you out of nowhere.
My father and I, 2002

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