Don't Take Pictures "Rule Breakers" guest column

Don't Take Pictures "Rule Breakers" guest column


Originally published on Don't Take Pictures, February 17, 2014

“I never want to see another picture of ________.” Industry veterans share their pet peeves on themes in contemporary photography. In this series they present to us their “rule” along with five photographs that break the it, reminding us that great work is the exception to the rule.

Rule Setter: Blue Mitchell
Rule Breaker: Alison Turner

I never want to see another picture of faux antiquated process photography. That said, Alison Turner’s series Reflected Identities has challenged this personal bias of mine. Process-wise, the work resembles wet plate collodion or even instant peel-apart film, however the project was simply shot and processed with an iphone. Typically when I see work like this I would immediately dismiss it, however, the more time I spend with this very personal series the more I fall in love with it. This project actually transcends two gripes of mine, the former as I mentioned, but also I tire of seeing modern wet plate portrait work. Turner’s series could add insult to injury in that it can be considered faux wet plate portrait work. Instead, the series supersedes these issues for me because of the impact of the images and how they portray a very raw and personal self reflection of the artist. To back this up, Turner states:

When I look in the mirror, what I see reflecting back at me is usually not how I feel inside. Under the superficial layer of skin, hair and eye color, I am much more complex than my reflection reveals. My internal struggles with addiction and search for self-identity has given me plenty of bricks to build the wall high, while holding down a mix of intense feelings of anger, loss, vulnerability, love, sadness and confusion.

Reflected Identities feels successful in accomplishing Turner’s goal by using filters to reject color, simplify, abstract and add a layer murkiness. These effects all add to a very personal reflection of self through the intimacy of others—sometimes painful, sometimes celebratory.

- Blue Mitchell

New 55 by Polly Chandler

Call for Entry: The Art of Handmade & Alternative Photography