My experience when reading the text and looking at the images of Weems, “From here I saw what happened and I cried” was very powerful and moving. The photographs is speaking to the viewers, telling a story, gives history of slavery and racism. Weems bring the photographs to life. It took me to another place. I felt like I was watching movie, history in action. It helped me to visualize in depth the meaning of the message the photograph series is conveying. The pain and suffering of slaves. I see the power and control when I looked at these photographs, the different age range of each person and their position. These photographs was recreated for a different purpose. Weems purpose was different from the scientist purpose. The glass added with the text to tell the true story, give it a voice/sound, to connect the viewers so that you would evaluate and stay focused on what was being told. The monochrome red was put in place of the other lighting to hide certain elements that the scientist were exposing negatively. It is possible to read the text and look at the images at the same time. The work without the text would not catch the viewers attention for a long period of time and would not be as strong. The text gave the photographs a greater meaning, understanding, and strength. The text also communicates and educates. I think Weems photographic project was creative and is a perfect way to convey a message of history in such a unique way. This is powerful.
In class we have studied J.T. Zealy’s daguerreotypes of slaves that were commissioned by Harvard scientist Louis Agassiz to support his belief in the theory of polygenesis. For this homework, please explore the works of contemporary artist Carrie Mae Weems, who uses the tool of appropriation to critique issues of race in her art. Appropriation is a popular practice for modern artists, who borrow and alter pre-existing images in order to transform and give images new significances. Weems appropriates many of Zealy’s photographs in her series “From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried.” Listen to a brief statement about the series and explore the photographs in the series on her website. Reflect on your experience of reading the texts and looking at the images. Is it possible to do both at the same time? How would the work change without the text? What do you think of Weems’ photographic project?
Please submit your post by class on Tuesday October 6th.