Note To Selves: Stay Home (a review of a photocopy show)
By Jordan Davis
Photos by Ryan Francisco and Anne Marie Darcy
[Ed. Note: What do you think about this conceit for a photography show, dear readers? In world where we’re constantly bombarded by images — in our news feeds, on instagram, on TV and billboards — what’s it like to walk into an art gallery and be bombarded to an even greater degree, where it all looks like a chaotic mess? And what about the rule to make these photos not just black and white, but photocopies? Again, we live in a world where Photoshop and Instagram filters can turn even the most banal image into a compelling work of fine art, whereas photocopying reduces the image to nothing more than two tones — true black or true white, the ultimate high contrast — where shades of gray become impossible, let alone all the colors of the rainbow. And then there’s the fact that these images are being displayed all but anonymously — the photographers’ names are difficult to discern — what does this say about the world of social media and reality TV, where anybody can be a star or a celebrity?
The curators made these choices: 1) not just B&W but photocopies, 2) seemingly haphazard, chaotic, overwhelming in number display, 3) all-but-anonymous display obscuring the photographers’ names. What was gained by doing it this way? What was lost? Do you find it compelling? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.]
Approaching the doors to the Hardy and Nance Street Studios, I see nothing but cool kids hanging outside smoking cigarettes. Immediately, I don’t want to be there.
It’s so crowded I can barely maneuver between the huddled masses, everyone trying to be cooler than the next person. I wish I had gotten the memo on attire — I would have stepped my game up. I feel like a slob standing next to all the beautiful people.
As I slither in and out of conversations, taking pauses in between groups to glance at the work, I can’t help but feel that this is just pointless. I’m not saying the exhibit was a waste of time, but the idea was just, in layman’s terms, bland. I am a fan of black & white photos in small doses, but a whole show dedicated to it gets old. That’s not my only complaint. I wanted to be able to credit artist that I liked but that turned into a challenge of its own. All the names were put in such random places I could barely tell where one person’s work began and another’s ended. I found out later from the curators of the show that this was intentional.
Installation shots — click thumbnail for larger image.
The idea for the show originated from London. A group called the Photocopy Club has been doing this for a while, and people worldwide submit their work to be a part of their shows where no one’s actually credited, which is a really cool idea because it takes all the pretentiousness and egos out of the show. Bu,t I guess a few couldn’t handle seeing their work without their names next to it. So, organizers Ryan Francisco and Anne Marie Darcy decided to jokingly place them in unconventional places to throw off viewers and possibly to annoy the artists. Though it made my job a little harder, it was a worthwhile tradeoff — I think it’s pretty funny.
Despite all the confusion, I did find myself enjoying a lot of the photos. Myesha Callahan Freet — her work, as well as a few others’ — made me pause a little longer than the rest to acknowledge the angle of the shot and even had me creating little stories to fit the image I was seeing.
There were a few photos in particular that resonated with me more than others. The photographer’s name was Anne Marie Darcy, and she had these seven photos of different people bending over into things like a cooler, a car window, a clothes dryer, a grocery store shelf. I couldn’t help but get lost in the imagery — you can’t see whatever it is each person in the picture is seeing — so I imagined they were all probably grabbing for pizza or maybe it was a portal. It could be whatever you wanted it to be; they we’re like open ended questions, and though each picture was similar they were all so very different. Each one had its own uniqueness and personality. For sure my favorite of them all.
As a whole, it wasn’t terrible. I did find some new respect for the scene, but I also found more reasons to hate the pretentiousness of it all. To me, it was just a bunch of photos that, though pleasing to the eye, felt cliched, and only a small few piqued my interest enough to make me stop and think. I saw a lot of photos and I forgot them just as quickly, as I swiped on down the line till the end of the hallway. I liked a lot of photos but I forgot to get their usernames so I could follow them on Instagram.
Photos of people looking at photos — click thumbnail for larger image.
by Guest Author