We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. -- Anaïs Nin via ThinkExist.com
That quote sums up the thought process that led me to the title of this new work: "We See." Here's a snippet of the full piece.
I found out the man in the original, unpainted-over photo was a photographer...
|Courtesy Library of Congress|
... and it got me thinking about how what I see is not necessarily what the camera -- or another person -- sees. If he were on TV today, I'd probably label him Ambiguously Ethnic: probably not "white" but not clearly "from X group" either, from my 21st century perspective.
Following the sight/perception train of thought, I pulled an optometrist's lens and a vintage illustration of the retina from my stash. On his forehead and face, I embedded medical text about sight.
I outlined the background diagrams from his eye and his brain with hemp cord and red embroidery floss, knocking back the others with paint. Then I echoed the look of the retinal vessels in arterial patterns, especially on his jacket and marbled-paper tie.
As far as I know, the man in the original photo was the first African-American photographer in Atlanta
. Thomas Askew shot his self-portrait and many others for a massive exhibit created for the 1900 Paris Exposition by the sociologist WEB DuBois. (Other than a photo credit to the Library of Congress, most photos in this collection
I'm waiting for a confirmation email, but I'm pretty sure you'll get to see this piece, in person, very soon! I've submitted this piece and a few others to a couple of exhibits happening in September. When I find out for sure, I'll show you the full-scale image of "We See" -- so keep checking back!