Back in 2015 the members of Boreal Collective asked me to pull together a selection of their photographs. I called the collection SUBJECT(ive).
These images were exhibited at SPAO, Ottawa and, as part of the Format Festival, in Derby, UK. SUBJECT(ive) was also produced as a newsprint.
Here, to ring out the old year and bring in the new, is a portfolio of those images for you to look at. And a bit of writing to read. drool.
Nothing in this world is ever the result of just one other thing. Everything is an amalgam, every instant is a coincidence. But the stress of our lives since birth creates filters we use to process, and react to, the world we move through. Our thinking is not evenly weighted, we always give preference to this over that. And so we make some so-called sense.
Photographers who go out into the world, make contact and bring back evidence are stuck on the horns of this dilemma. How to sort things out while they’re there on the ground, what to record, how to record it. Then, how to process, pick and choose, after the fact, from the pile of data they have collected. Why this? Why not that?
The camera always transforms the subject of the photograph into something else: a frozen shard of time and space. In the hands of a practiced practitioner, though, it can close the gap between the external (the normative subject) and the internal (the photographer’s subjectivity) in miraculous ways. It can turn reality into resonance.
When I was asked to curate a show for Boreal Collective, I asked each member to send me fifteen or twenty images that, to them, went well past any objective look at what they had actually photographed. I wanted to see images they considered more than mere document, images that were, in fact, representations of how they feel.
What you see here is a further mutation of reality. I chose and arranged these particular images not because they are photographs of a hearth, or fireworks or a baby, but in spite of that. This, to me, is life.
Aaron Vincent Elkaim
Bits of the SUBJECT(ive) newsprint