Photography Reviews

Evidence – Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel

Larry Sultan, famously known for his work Picture from Home, which documents the lives of his home with parents in Southern California with contemporary photography, film stills, fragments of conversations and his own writings and other memorabilia, collaborated with Mike Mandel for a work less well-known Evidence, a brilliant recent discovery while reading the book Photography and Collaboration by Daniel Palmer.

Between 1975-1977, Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel worked together and curated selected photographs from a multitude of images that previously existed solely within the boundaries of the industrial, scientific, governmental and other institutional sources. The work Evidence is about juxtaposing these previously contextualised images into new forms of narratives which some become humorous and while others perplexing. The work demonstrate that the meaning of a photograph is conditioned by the context and sequence in which it is seen, and by isolating from their original context that these images take on meanings that address the confluence of industry and corporate mischief, ingenuity and pseudo-science.

© Larry Sultan, from the series ‘Evidence’; Source @ Larry Sultan

One needs to read the book to fully absorb and comprehend what they set out to do (And I wish I have the book to read it closely too!). The absurdity of these pairings somehow has a common thread that holds the whole book, transporting you to a universe that you may be familiar with yet completely off in some way – suggesting that we often read images in a contextualised form and when that’s been removed, what seems familiar becomes floating in a space that is waiting for us to make meaning of. When there’s a series of these and are carefully curated and sequenced, our brain has its way to fill in those blanks and create new forms of narrative. Evidently these are images of evidence, of truths, of events, of history… somehow in Evidence the value of these images changed and became fictional.

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Slow Looking

Contact

Do you ever look closely what technology default functions do to you? What data are they collecting and what information does it provide you with these data?

If there’s no manipulation with these settings and if you input everything in those empty boxes (because you feel obliged to when you see an empty space plus some you must input anyway), what this information says can tell you whether you are on someone’s contact list (you’ll figure out the formula if you really want to…) 

Now what is a contact? Someone you would like to be in touch with? Someone you want to be able to identify (because you can input as much details as you’d like to label that person)? Someone you want to develop a relationship with? Now does it matter whether you are on his/her contact list or vice versa (since your name – if you choose to put your name as your name – will be displayed anyway when you message that person)? And why do you choose to add someone to your contact list and some don’t?

Probably this isn’t something you care about… but it is something that I came to think about. 

What is relationship? and with the advancement of technology, how does the data you give (probably without you noticing) indicate/influences our relationships with others nowadays? 

And now once you noticed, what information do you choose to share with these technology? And even if you don’t, do they secretly keep them anyway in their server?

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