British redcoat reenactor, (Battle of Concord), Lincoln, MA, 2002 – Sage Sohier – All photographs © Sage Sohier
From a recent visit to Blue Sky Gallery – Portland – showing (wonderful new digs in the north park blocks by the way) – “Perfectible Worlds” – a series by Sage Sohier.
Man with bonsai, Essex County, MA, 2004 – Sage Sohier – All photographs © Sage Sohier
Of “Perfectible Worlds” – I enjoyed the opportunity to gaze at different ways Sohier has pictured “escaping” reality. As the series suggest, by shaping their re-created world the subjects seem to loose themselves in the remaking – and detailing out of situations – but regain a sense of control in these situations. The statement rather weakly suggested this was especially relevant in the post 9/11 world. Yet for all the potentially negative associations – I found the pictures rather celebratory in the achievements of these individuals. Whatever the need – even if bordering on the compulsive – the pictures celebrate in my opinion the ways that these people (we are lead to believe – lack a feeling of control?) – through some form of self expression – have regained something lacking. Seems to me to be rather harmless. Perhaps I came away sensing more the look of intense focus and pleasure on behalf of those being photographed – a sense of their pride in their creations and passions.
I came away thinking that this isn’t something new or unique to a post 9/11 culture – this is something that has been with us a long time before.
It’s interesting to consider these examples with previous examples with regard to picturing the “mental model” of remaking of reality / fantasy and the question of role playing, power and the illusion of control in a post 9/11 world….