Research: Photos in Art

Below are images of artwork that have inspired me in some way. All images are scanned from the book Proof: Los Angeles Art and the Photograph 1960-1980 by Charles Desmarais, copyright 1992. The book and exhibition focused on artists who used the photograph to question truth. Each artist brings their unique expression to the idea of truth and fiction in our trace of history using photography.

“nohJ”, William Wegman, 1970

I love this piece for its simplicity. A photograph printed backwards to question reality.

Untitled, Susan Haller, 1972

I also love the simplicity of this one.  It is a wonderful comment on the evidence of trace left behind.

A Cubic Foot of Photographs, George Blakely, 1978

Accumulative memory neatly stacked and organized.  I’m not sure of the artist’s intention with this sculpture, but if reminds me of our need to organize in a non-linear way.  It’s as if we are collecting evidence of our existence so we can prove that we were here.



Filed under Inspiration, Memory, Other Artists, Photo, Trace

3 responses to “Research: Photos in Art

  1. Charles Desmarais

    Thank you for the compliment.

  2. Charles,

    Thank YOU for the inspiration!


  3. vrolli20

    I really enjoy the piece with the iron images. Very provoking.
    Also, I was on AOL today. There is an interesting news story about a Mystery beings solved due to a photograph. It sounded interesting and thought of you.

    Here’s the story (you can see the actual photograph on AOL’s website):

    Old Photo Helps Solve Drowning Mystery
    Posted: 2008-02-02 22:29:54
    Filed Under: Nation News
    SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Feb. 2) – A treasured old photograph, a police investigator’s long-shot appeal to the public and a retiree’s sharp memory have combined to solve a 15-year-old drowning mystery.

    Photo Gallery
    New York State Police / AP Mysteries
    Solved1 of 7 This photo was found on the body of a drowning victim in Somers, N.Y., in 1993. A reader who saw the photo in a newspaper this month recognized the building in the background. A friend said the Bookless family once lived there. Dental records confirmed the body found was that of Andrew Bookless, who siblings say is the toddler in the photo.

    State police in Somers, N.Y., tried for years to identify a body found in the Titicus Reservoir on June 13, 1993, carrying 38 pounds of rocks in a backpack. The man left no clues to his name and matched no local missing-persons reports.

    The only lead was a black-and-white snapshot found on the body that showed a grandfatherly man holding a small boy in the crook of his arm, both wearing attire from the 1950s or early 1960s.

    Police assumed the toddler was the drowning victim, but years of investigation produced only dead ends. Then, with a few remarkable coincidences last month, Andrew Bookless got back his name.

    Bookless was eventually identified through dental records – though only after police seeking to identify the little boy wrongly guessed a vintage light fixture in the picture may have been in western Massachusetts.

    When they circulated the photo in the Berkshires, retired teacher Terry Yacubich, who had moved to Pittsfield from Bellport, N.Y., recognized a building behind the man and little boy as one she had known from her days on Long Island.

    Bookless’ family, it turned out, once lived in the very spot the picture was taken.

    “I’m not psychic or anything like that, but I think maybe Andrew worked through me to finally get some closure,” Yacubich said.

    Bookless disappeared from his family’s lives years before that June day when police found him dead at 31. The snapshot was intact in a glass frame and close to his heart under layers of winter clothing.

    Troopers searched for years to find someone who recognized the older man or features in the photo’s background.

    Investigator Joe Fiebich sent the picture to The Berkshire Eagle newspaper in January after learning the vintage street light in the background was similar to those installed throughout western Massachusetts decades ago.

    It turned out they were common on Long Island’s south shore, too.

    But it wasn’t the light fixture that grabbed Yacubich’s attention when she saw the newspaper last weekend. She spotted the church auditorium in the village where she’d lived for 47 years.

    “The moment I saw that picture, I knew exactly where it was,” said Yacubich, 59, who had attended decades’ worth of first Communion parties, church socials and funerals there.

    Yacubich contacted friend Donald Mullins, a retired Suffolk County, N.Y., police detective and code enforcement officer in Bellport, a village in the town of Brookhaven. He trekked to the church’s neighborhood and quickly found the spot: the front corner of a now-empty residential lot.

    “I stood on that very spot and said, `This is it. This is exactly it,”‘ Mullins said.

    He tracked the land’s ownership history in town deeds until he found that the Bookless family had a house there before it was destroyed in a fire.

    The Westchester County, N.Y., medical examiner’s office confirmed Bookless’ identity Jan. 25, and it was released this week after his four older siblings were notified.

    They told police the man in the picture was Bookless’ grandfather and that his parents, John and Marianna Bookless, had died in 1994 and 2004. Police said Bookless’ family had him declared dead after his mother’s death.

    Police were trying to determine whether Bookless’ death was a suicide, an accident or whether he met with foul play. Investigators believe Bookless fell through the ice in the winter of 1992-93, months before his body was found with the rock-laden pack strapped on his back.

    New York State Police Senior Investigator Patrick Bosley, one of several troopers who reviewed the case over the years, tried unsuccessfully in the mid-1990s to have it featured on television’s “Unsolved Mysteries.”

    “It was obvious to us all along that the picture was the best piece of information we had,” Bosley said. “It was clear that evidently the older gentleman was someone very close to him – his father or grandfather, a favorite uncle, someone he cared a lot about.”

    Bookless’ family said he often would disappear for months, part of the reason his mother did not report him missing until 1999 even though she had not heard from him in several years, police said.

    They said Bookless’ body was buried in New York as an unidentified person, but that his siblings would be able to move it if they wish.

    “For me, the best end of the story would be to see that Andrew rests in peace,” Yacubich said.

    Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
    2008-02-02 21:41:14

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