« 37 Instagram Photographers You Might Not Know (But Should Definitely Follow) | Main | Cyrus Chestnut, Terri Allard, Free Bridge Quintet: Habitat for Humanity Benefit Concert »

17 October 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Striking work John. And a thoughtful and thought-provoking response from you.

I'd been mulling over all of this recently for several reasons (one of which I'll ping you about offline) another was having noted a short news article in one of our small local papers which knocked me somewhat, because I like to think we're 'better' informed and more accommodating of 'incomers' up here. It has to be viewed in its entirety so I'll send it to you. It ties in with this article very well - perhaps you can embed it if you think it appropriate.

But back to Price's work: wow. Strong stuff and a bold response to her 'abusers'. The 'control' that's being exerted over these individuals through the appropriation of their image is powerful. But..... (like your 'but' there's always one)...but the web and the bias of ignorance, will likely appropriate these images in a way that may actually take that control away from Price, for all the reasons you mention.

Had a brief discussion with @zunleephoto over his important and striking work on African-American Fathers which I found profoundly moving. Like this work of Price, I could see that Zun's images although ostensibly about 'black' fathers, has a universality to the message it delivers. But sadly it's a message that I think many (white affluent males) will not admit to - because its a damn sight easier to make the issue it portrays one of race rather than what it actually is - one of gender. And that's a huge problem, and one I see looming over Price's work also.

I guess we just have to continue to confront these stereotypical responses and highlight their narrow-mindedness whenever possible.

Thanks for your concern for me John. I'm ok. Price's work is excellent, and thoughtful, bold and appropriate. All my peers' responses may not be. For that I apologize.

This was my concern about the photos too. They do reinforce stereotypical images of black men as leering and threatening. And I am also uncomfortable with the class tensions between the highly-educated Price and the seemingly poor men she photographs.

At the same time, as a black woman who has experienced such harassment, I appreciate Price's turning of the tables. We want to be able to inhabit public space in the same way men inhabit it. These photos in a way claim that power even as -- or maybe because -- they objectify the men who objectify her. They capture what it's like to be ogled in public, both in the sense that she is capturing their facial expressions as (or soon after) they ogle, and in the sense that she is holding them up for viewing.

And maybe that tension is precisely why they're so powerful.

It seems to me the photographic prints are documents of a process that is more important than the photos and how they are received. It seems most important that the photographer changes the relationship between herself and the people she encounters, shifting an apparent master/slave relationship in a socially dysfunctional context mediated by sexuality, into a person-to-person context mediated by photography. It is performance art. The pictures are documentary evidence of the interaction. I feel many are in danger of reading too much into the photographic evidence, and too little into the performance. We seem to insist on drawing out an object to fetishise and project our anxieties upon - as much as the work insists on publication in order to exist in any palpable way. I suspect the actual interaction between photographer and subject is more healthy, positive and powerful than the photographic evidence on which the big topics of race, gender, sexuality, class, et al, are projected. (The pictures aren't powerful; making them is.)

Goethe- "The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become."

What strikes me is the positive manner in which Ms. Price has chosen to deal with it and make it a "teachable moment" for ALL concerned. It's the work of someone confident enough to say- look at yourself when you look at me, we are on equal footing.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Follow Me On Twitter