Migration is on my mind these days, as the plight of migrants in Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean confronts us daily in the news, putting into perspective the first world problems that we tend to grumble about. The transience of identity as people flee persecution and poverty contrasts harshly in the photos below with the fluidity of persona achievable in the digital age.
Particularly fascinating for me this week are images of the work from Richard Prince’s new exhibition called New Portraits at the Gagosian Gallery, in Madison Avenue, New York. Prince notoriously pushes the boundaries of authorship and art by shamelessly appropriating other people’s work, altering it slightly and selling it for tens of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars. His new show at Gagosian appropriates instagram photos from others, and without notification, compensation or consent, hangs them as his own high art. To comply with Fair Use laws, he has altered the comments below the original instagram photos. I identify with his proclivity to make use of existing images: I do so myself in my series called SeeThrough Daily, in which I shoot still lifes of images printed back-to-back in newspapers
My work process with clients often includes harvesting images from their own archives as well. I recognize that their photographs contain important visual legacies, journals of their experiences that I could never hope to capture in a single static portrait. Archival photos can be salvaged and ‘rehabilitated’. They can be integrated into content for especially engaging interactions online, or as components of bespoke personal art pieces commissioned by families and others.
This 5 Amazing Photos series itself appropriates photos from the continuous glut of images that confront us, re-interprets them through my own filter and puts them along with my thoughts into the world as new content.
This post was first published on Executive Lifestyle Magazine and has been reposted on Executive Lifestyle with the permission of the author.