Non-Famous People (1998-2008)
Portraits made in the rural and urban landscape of Wisconsin with story-texts and printed in antiquarian photographic processes based on 4×5, 8×10, and 12×20 format film negatives and vintage cameras. We installed the work in numerous configurations in venues around the US over a period of 10 years.
View images on Flickr
View Sarah Bowen Gallery, Brooklyn, installation video on YouTube
Purchase Observations are Not Knowledge book from Lulu
Read New Art Examiner February 1999 review by James Rhem
Read Revue Magazine May/June 1999 review by The Pump House Arts Center
Read No Depression July/August 2002 review by Michael Perry
Read Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 10.6.2002 feature by Mary Louise Schumacher
Read Chicago Reader 1.7.2005 review by Fred Camper
Read Art on Paper March/April 2005 review by Lyle Rexer
Read Jameswagner.com 2006 review by James Wagner
PICTURES OF NON-FAMOUS PEOPLE
Essay by J. Shimon & J. Lindemann (2000)
After working primarily with an 8×10 Deardorff, we began photographing with a circa 1913 12×20 Folmer & Schwing banquet camera in 1998. With it, we revisit past territory and make photographs closer to our personal lives. The cumbersome quality of the banquet camera slows us down as we look at these people we know and have photographed before. We collaborate with them to make pictures about their reality. Each picture is an episode from a specific life that reads like an allegorical vignette, a reality viewed as somewhat surreal due to the unconventional look of the technique.
Fate brings people into our lives and we make pictures of them. These people could pass without memory, but the photographs remain as monuments of our predestined encounters. Our process has become less about us seeking out people to photograph, and more about pictures revealing themselves to us.
These pictures are a controlled-area, framed out of the realm of infinite space and time. Within this frame, we orchestrate and manipulate aspects of light and composition. There’s a precarious trust and a suffocating feeling of anticipation and tension that builds. There’s also magic in how the pictures come from this anxiety.
The people we photograph are extraordinary in their ability to stop and be in these pictures. There is a fearlessness about how they present themselves. These photographic situations evolve out of adversity, transition or doubt. There’s something about our collective state of mind that inspires and makes the picture happen.