Photographer JoAnn Verburg on newspapers, politics, and multiple realities

In a recent interview, JoAnn Verburg discussed how newspapers function in her photography:
One thing that it does, which is the same thing I’m doing when I use multiple frames, is suggest that there’s more than one thing going on in the world. There’s more than one vantage point, more than one reality. It’s not just a monocular, fixed view of the world, which would be my ego presented to you as a photograph.
You’re subtly letting people know it’s not all about you? “There’s another world out there and I want you to not forget about it, even though I’m showing you this other thing that is so intimate, my husband.”
Right. So subjective, so about me, so personal, and yet I’m aware that you have another perspective. There are other vantage points, there are other perspectives, other subjective beings outside my frame and my imagination. That would be the basic use of the newspaper. Then I often give the viewer something to read, which is usually (but not always) life-size newspaper text. In that case, there are two things going on. One is that you’re engaging the subject matter, which tends to be a story about the consequences of war or greed. Second, you’re also doing what the person in the image is doing, which I love. Jim [Moore, Verburg's husband] is reading the newspaper as you are reading the newspaper, only he is not a person. He’s the simulacrum, and you’re the person. The time in the photograph and the time in the gallery are in collusion in some really odd way, a way that appeals to me. There’s that—the question about what’s reality—and the fact that these things all exist simultaneously.
From "JoAnn Verburg on Newspapers as Portals to the Political," the second installment in the Walker series Lowercase P: Artist & Politics.

 Pictured: Untitled (1/11/92), (1992), and Terrorized (2006), copyright JoAnn Verburg, 2012

No comments: