Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Phil Borges (Michael's Pick)

My pick for this week is Phil Borges. Borges is a photographer who deals with the rapidly diminishing number of native tongues and populations in a world that is rapidly globalizing. The work pictured here shows two sides of his work and two sides of the world. He is just as concerned with the aging remnants of a culture as he is with the children growing up, not knowing the language or culture. His work is tied to the Bridges Project, which aims to preserve the rapidly dissolving cultures in our world. Specifically, he is photographing peoples with animist religions tied to the natural world.

The images themselves are desaturated digital photographs showing indigenous peoples in their God given land and in their current complex social surroundings. Figures are meant to "pop" out from the background, and with a striking result. The descriptions of his work are often compassionate narratives on the plight of the individuals in each image. They are not about the image as image. They are the image as reactant. As mover and shaker.

What I like most about his work is that 1) his interest is more sincere than Edward Curtis and 2) that his artwork is tied to a social theme and organization. In the past few weeks, I've been thinking hard about the roll of the artist in the world after the death of the image. Creating images that tie into and further social action and social betterment could be one of the roles of the artist in this age.


1 comment:

Mike Seidman said...

even more interesting to me: what is the roll of an artist (a photographer) as a member of the globalized world--as a member of a society that indeed allows for specializations as unusual and unnatural as "photographer"--in trying to create public outcry using a form of mass media as his vessel?

does it help or hurt? if nothing else it's a little absurd and funny to me. the levels of it. post-agriicultural societies industrialize and specialize exponentially, thus inadvertantly (or advertantly) absorbing or overwriting or squashing all "less developed" cultures it encounters. while also allowing for artists who make a living by objecting to these conditions that have influenced the values which upon which they object. and so on indefinitely.

integer overflow!