Storytelling and Photography
Two of the artists featured in the exhibition Narrative Interventions in Photography, currently on view in the Center for Photographs, join noted playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith for an evening of conversation and readings.
Eileen Cowin and Carrie Mae Weems discuss their works on view and explore how storytelling impacts their art making. Weems's work is part of her 1995 series From Here I Saw What Happened, in which she appropriates historical photographs of African Americans and superimposes her own narrative onto the images. Weems's texts add an additional layer of interpretation to the photographs, which depict racial stereotypes, brutality, and injustice. Cowin's 2002 series I See What You're Saying consists of large-scale diptychs in which images of books are juxtaposed with close-up details of faces; together, the pairs explore the tension between what simply exists on the page and what is viscerally understood. The work asks viewers to consider the subjectivity of storytelling, specifically the notion of lying.
Anna Deavere Smith is currently the artist in residence at the Center for American Progress. She is known for her documentary-theater style, showcased in plays such as Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, in which she performs multiple roles. Smith has also appeared in numerous films and television programs. In this unique meeting of artists at the Getty, Smith urges the photographers to explore their interest in storytelling through performance.
Complements the exhibition Narrative Interventions in Photography.