mysteries

I’ve recently discovered the fine art blog and magazine, Don’t Take Pictures, where they “strive to celebrate the creativity involved with the making of photographs.”

Through a recent post on Don’t Take Pictures, I was introduced to the work of Melissa Breyer.

Her work, True Stories, captured my attention immediately, so unlike any other photographs I’ve studied.

In Melissa’s words:

The work here comprises an ongoing project of photography on the sly. I’m endlessly intrigued by the beautiful mash-up of nonfiction and fiction that candid photography has to offer; the non-fiction in the fraction of a second that the photo was taken, the fiction that follows as each viewer sees the photo and creates their own story.

I find this point of view entirely compelling. Melissa’s pictures, even though still, are rich with movement. They create a mesmerizing narrative.

From the article by Helen Falabino on Don't Take Pictures:

Through her lens, she casts a figurative and graphic spell, calibrated to ask only the important questions: What do you see? The answer is revealed in “the fiction that follows as each viewer sees the photo and creates their own story,” she explains.

True Stories coincides with a fun project I’ve been working on. Though not nearly as eloquent and polished as Melissa’s photographs, I’ve been playing around with the mystery afforded by pictures. The history of photography is based in documentation, yet there is little doubt that photographs lie. Every time a photographer picks up a camera and makes decisions about what is included and excluded from the frame, about depth of field, lens choice, and lighting, the photograph is tainted by bias and prejudice. Even without the obvious implications of the digital darkroom, pictures are more, and less, than what they appear to be.

On a recent trip to the library, a book cover caught my attention. The book entitled, Bibliomysteries, Stories of Crime in the World of Books and Bookstores, featured a cover photo of a woman’s body with only the legs showing, felled among stacks of books. A nearby sign invited readers with the catch phrase, Whodunit? Just like a game of Clue, perhaps it was the man in the library with the bookend who committed the crime.

Because my husband is game for most anything, he agreed to a little fun. We made our own version of the mystery book cover where we created a new perspective. In the library, our eyes are trained to look for books and computers and things related to reading, but a body splayed out crime scene style is the beginning of a story where the truth is a very fluid thing.