Monday, June 15, 2015

Signs & Strangers

I'm desperate

Gillian Wearing made a series of street photographs in South London during 1992-93, asking random passersby "to write down what was on their minds" and then to hold up their writings for the camera. The full title of the series was, Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say.

These selections are made available by the Tate. Wearing intended, in her own words, to precipitate work that "interrupts the logic of photo-documentary and snapshot photographs by the subjects' clear collusion and engineering of their own representation."

Everything is connected in life, the point is to know it and to understand it

I like to be in the country
The last holiday abroad was nice but I can't afford it

I've been certified as mildly insane!

I signed on and they would not give me nothing

The dystopian Signs series was new to me, but caused me to recollect another collaborative series of photo-portraits created in London during 1998-99 by Shizuka Yokomizo. Her project was called Dear Stranger and involved sending notes that began,

"Dear Stranger, I am an artist working on a photographic project which involves people I do not know ... I would like to take a photograph of you standing in your front room from the street in the evening ... "

At a time stated in the note, Yokomizo appeared outside each address with her telephoto lens. If the stranger turned on lights and appeared in the window, the portrait was taken. If not, then not. Subject and photographer never encountered each other directly.

Stranger No. 1

Stranger No. 2

Stranger No. 5

Stranger No. 6

Stranger No. 10