Wednesday, 29 January 2014

In Southern California

In Gonzales @ Emelle Sonh

Recently, I came across photos of me by Emelle Sonh, from 2007 in Southern California. The one above was taken in a Mexican restaurant in the town of Gonzales. It does not cease to fascinate me how these photographs document my presence in the places pictured. Before photography was invented, people could only rely on their memory. That does not mean that photographs replace memory, it means that they help to shape it.
In 29 Palms @ Emelle Sonh

The above pic was taken in front of my temporary home at 5594 Oasis Ave in the town of 29 Palms that locals describe as "not the end of the world, but you can see it from here". What first comes to mind: the heat, the sand, the scenery. Then, the burritos, the bagels, the drives through Joshua Tree National Park. The talks with Emelle including our disputes whether photography is art (of course, says Emelle) or not (I'm not so sure).

Photographs of me make me look at myself and at the world surrounding me – and that feels somehow unreal. I'm not used to such a view for my awareness is focussed on looking and not on being looked at. Looking at photographs of me helps me understand that identity is not only defined by what I think of myself but also by how others see me.

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