Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Vices or I Will Not...




Artist Reception and Book Signing

March 13, 2014

Cooper Lobby 4PM

Facebook Event

  
The photographs in Jamie Johnson’s new series, Vices, or I Will Not…, comprise an updated twist on the old-timey school-days punishment of writing on the chalkboard; but her titles refer to the crimes of a new generation -- “I will not date actors; I will not play with guns; I will not greenlight bad movies...” Beyond the wry wit of her titles and the modern wardrobe of today’s public school hooligans, the photographs themselves form a smart and salient allegory for how the world itself has changed since those allegedly good old days. In a very real sense, these are the opposite of iPhone selfies; and they are as much about the history of photography as the narratives they contain.

The plates’ rich sepia tonality telegraphs personal and cultural nostalgia; while Johnson’s technical versatility and virtuosity manifest in her use of antique wood cameras and subsequent revisitation of a precarious and extremely analog technical process called wet plate collodion. A certain urgency and physicality is shared by both the schoolchildren writing and the photographer in an 1850’s darkroom; and both contact prints and penmanship have disappeared as surely as innocence. As if to underscore the things-past poetry at the series’ core, the portraits depict the backs of the children’s heads; and we are left to imagine their emotions as well as the nature of their adorable crimes.
--Shana Nys Dambrot



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