I became interested in Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s work after coming across a brief description of a couple of his projects while reading for my color photography class at the end of last week. These two projects, Heads and Hollywood, were both made by following conceptual guidelines or patterns.
But another one of his projects that functions a little bit differently is A Storybook Life. Though the work was a gallery show, diCorcia originally planned it as a book. The book starts and ends with a photo of his dad, one sleeping in a bed, the other in a coffin (I couldn’t find any high quality images of these examples, but they were included in the pdf interview of diCorcia’s that I read). But the rest of the “70-some” photos between are not just of the same person. There are photos of diCorcia’s other relatives, and also strangers. In this way “the logic of [the other photos’] inclusion is not immediately apparent and the family photos make too little a connection for the story to become a deeply personal one.”
I really like the idea of shooting something that starts with personal family photos and leads into a broader spectrum. As each individual person views the images, I feel like they will connect them in their own way (or see how seemingly discordant people/places/situations all relate to one another).
The photos of diCorcia’s father were taken a year apart, but the other photos in the book were taken over 20 years. One comment by diCorcia about the project that I liked was that “the sequencing decisions were made to build up tension either by deliberately meeting or denying your expectations.” In this way, the seemingly nonlinear photos become linear in how they are set up to be built off of each other.
Enright, Robert and Meeka Walsh. “Attentive Contradictions: The Photographic World of Philip-Lorca diCorcia.” Border Crossings, No. 108 (November 2008): 1, 28-47.