Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Philip-Lorca diCorcia

I look at this photograph and have to ask myself, why?  Why do I find that a random group of passersby with dull, lifeless expressions in a rather ordinary, mundane environment, a sidewalk, is somehow, strangely captivating if not compelling?  I have no idea why!

Philip-Lorca diCorcia does this and other equally disconcerting shots.  I get the feeling of being off-balance, unsettled, uncertain.  I'm not sure what I'm seeing.  Are his images real life documents or theatrical stagings?  Snap shots or cinema clips?  There is a filmic quality to them yet a static quality, as well.  Something frozen in time, whether it be the pedestrians on the sidewalk, the wealthy women and boy at the dinner table, the women adorned with chandeliers ... whether it be the banal or highly decorated.  Is it real or is it fiction?  One thing is for certain, his lighting and technique is key to making the inconsequential seem important.

Above, an example of diCorcia's fashion advertising work.

To see Philip-Lorca diCorcia's work in the Museum of Modern Art's collection, click here (MOMA).  Here is a bio and slideshow and another bio that also references a court case of interest.  And, here is an interview with diCorcia about his series called, "The Hustlers" which resulted in a book featuring male prostitutes in Los Angeles, California.  The portraits of the men were then published with their name, age, place they were from, and the dollar amount they were paid to model which was a payment equivalent to the payment they would have received otherwise for their services. 

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