Tag Archives: Duane Michals

This Photograph Is My Proof.

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Probably the work I most admired back in art school was “This photograph is my proof.” It’s about someone showing evidence that there was a moment that existed. And despite that moment being gone and things being different, for a moment in time, a woman did care for the subject.

Or at least that’s what the subject wants us to think. Because the evidence could be misleading, and perhaps that moment was misrepresented. Saying that, “This photograph is my proof… she did love me,” is just that: him saying that some girl loved him. That’s his interpretation, not hers, and perhaps not the viewers’. It talks about how photographs and their interpreters could very well lie. At least that’s the message I get under themes of longing, mourning, and insecurity.

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This is not the first time I’ve written about “This photograph is my proof.” I think its message is easy to grasp because it’s quite universal. We’ve all held on to that one photo of proof of something that is no longer there. Heck, it’s the reason why Facebook is so popular. Half of their traffic is probably due to people pining over their exes.

Unfortunately, the more I think about it, a man holding and cherishing a photo as proof of love lost is probably something that doesn’t happen too often these days. Sure, images are now digitized and no one carries photos around aside from the ones stored in phones or accessible online. But because photos are non-physical, there is not much cherishing them. We can always view, download, delete, store, edit, and share pictures of our exes. The pictures we have hidden in a deep folder somewhere in our C drives are currently outdated by the ones they post online. And even if you cherish the old ones, have you seen what they have been up to lately on their timeline?!

If anything, the modern equivalent of “This photograph is my proof” is far more intimate, especially with the ease of taking photos these days. And if anything, these “proofs” are often used for more nefarious purposes. Nude photos of exes are the proof that things were good once.

You were happy. It did happen and she did love you. Look and see for yourselves, everyone.

 

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Quick, name an artist!

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Gustav Klimt, one of the artists that all Koreans know, along with Picasso, Warhol, Van Gogh, and Haring. There’s like a Picasso or Warhol show here in South Korea every year. And Van Gogh, Klimt, and Haring’s images have been incorporated into so many products that it’s impossible not to know them.

Ask a Korean who their favorite visual artist is, it’s almost certain to be one of those five.

Of course, I’m sure this is not a strictly a Korean phenomenon. You’ll probably get similar answers in the west with Banksy added.

As for me, my favorite artists are Calder and Duane Michals. It’s funny because I’m not really that heavy into sculpture or photography. I’ve always admired Michals’ look into human insecurities and I remember taking a couple of photography courses back in university just to try to emulate his style. This was before digital photo manipulation just made it too easy. As for Calder, his sense of playfulness is hypnotic. Forget texting or reading a book while waiting at a museum lobby. Just stare at a Calder piece. The minutes will just zoom past you.

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