Life as art … through images

What if you curated your family photo collection like a gallery?

Chicago Tribune art reviewer Lori Waxman poses some interesting questions in her review of three photographic shows at Chicago galleries this week in “Stories found in photos: Some images tell us clearly what is going on, while others leave the interpretation up to the viewer.”

“Words tell stories, of course,” writes Waxman, “but photographs possess a unique narrative force all their own.”

This could be said of your family photos, too. The images you capture and the way you edit them forms the story of a life.

To look at some family photo albums, for example, one could assume the family’s life is all smiles and celebrations. In another album, life is lived only during vacations. Or stops after child No. 2 begins sleeping through the night.

But what if your family album was like the “Anna & Eve” exhibition of a mother-daughter relationship at the Catherine Edelman Gallery? “Though just 16 images are on view, there must be many more,” Waxman writes. “They suggest days spent in search of poignant moments and poetic scenarios.”

What if you had to choose only 16 photos of your relationship with one of your children? Not 10 albums. Not 1,000 images. Just 16. What story would you tell?

In another exhibition at ThreeWalls, artist Laura Mackin compiled 60 years of found footage shot by a man named Dean. “It’s a horror of a life, this life as she tells it,” Waxman writes, describing the end product as “24 sunsets, 2 minutes of driving and 2-1/2 minutes of looking through a zoom lens.”

If photos or home movies are the only artifacts you leave behind in this life, what story do they tell? Would it be poignant and poetic? Or horrific?

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One comment on “Life as art … through images

  1. kris rocky says:

    Great stuff. I think I may have told you once but I still purchase abandoned photos at flea markets because I hate the thought they they dont belong to anyone. I love to imagine their ‘stories’. Have a good weekend.

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