Walker Evans, Hale County, Alabama, Summer 1936 (one of the "killed" photographs from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men)
"so that the chairs, beds, bureaus, trunks, vases, trinkets, general odds and ends, are set very plainly and squarely discrete from one another and from walls, at exact centers or as near them as possible, and this kind of spacing gives each object a full strength it would not otherwise have, and gives their several relationships, as they stand on shelves or facing, in a room, the purest power such a relationship can have."
James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
in just two months i will pack up nearly all my possessions and send them nine hours north to be placed in storage. only the most necessary items will stay with me--and a few things that will be sold or sent to goodwill when i leave dallas in april. whether i meant to or not, i have planned six (nine total) months of embodiment of what i am studying--the utilitarian aesthetic of 1930s rural america.
i am ready.
for the last six months i have been craving a blank wall in my tiny apartment. i like small living spaces. i like the low financial commitment, the forced editing of domestic items, the cheap utilities, and the required creative acts that make it an enjoyable living environment.
but i'm tired of my things. i'm tired of the mental space they require. i'm tired of feeling like i'm carrying them on my back. i'm ready to pack them away and forget them.
i'm ready for a blank, white wall. and the echo of my feet on the hard, wood floor. for a rock and some weeds and carefully cut paper as inspirations for thought.
i'm ready for only a few clothing items to choose from. a limited number of shoes. a bag. i'm ready to clear my head and make room for creative ideas.
dorothea lange looked to migrant worker's domestic artifacts for portraits. when she photographed their stacked up stuff, she was photographing their faces. she was capturing their index. their portrait. i am tired of looking at my face in the mirror. it is cluttered with things i know too well and don't know well enough. i want to know the uncluttered parts of my portrait. and remember what is really there.