In the modern age, maps have become more than simple depictions of geographical locations and features. We can now “map-out” our schedules, our psyches, and even our genes. This expanding concept of the map as a visual rendering of information speaks to our desire to analyze and order the world in which we live. And photography, with its ability to record events and history, is often seen as the ultimate tool for achieving these ends.
This issue of spot is filled with photographic maps and guides, visual explorations of both concrete and abstract subjects. We open with Fernando Castro’s, The Lure of Cartography, an examination of mapping and its role in the works of the nine photographers to be featured in HCP’s upcoming exhibition, Created and Found Maps – Exploration of Self and World. Castro discusses the use of maps as a means of exploring both our inner selves and the external world.
The works of Lorna Bieber and Rose Marasco navigate viewers though the murky realms of dreams and the sub-conscious. In Borrowed Dreams Bevin Bering Dubrowski observes that both of these artists use images and forms from mass media to create personal explorations for themselves and their viewers.
The representation and memorialization of space are explored in Corinne Vionnet’s series Photo Opportunities. The photographer interweaves images taken from anonymous online tourist snapshots, underscoring the symbolic value that famous sites have acquired through time. Madeline Yale considers Vionnet’s work within the context of photography and the touristic experience.
Houston area high school students participating in HCP’s Collaboration’s VII were give the opportunity to produce an exhibition exploring the photographic self-portrait. Transcending the casual snapshots popularized by social networking websites, the students were encouraged to investigate their shifting sense of self through photography. Rachel Hewlett discusses the student’s use of the self-portrait as a tool for self-discovery and analysis.
Carolle Benitah’s photo albums trace the artist’s transition from childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood. The photographer painstakingly orders and arranges family photographs and then embroiders them with thread and beads to signify the passage of time, presenting us with a poignant examination of the past and memories.
Edmund Clark documents the enduring effects of incarceration on former detainees of the Guantanamo Detention Center. By juxtaposing images of the naval base that houses American soldiers and their families, the camps were detainees are held, and the homes where former detainees now reside, Clark forces viewers to share in the feelings of entrapment and disorientation that are central to the incarceration process.
The works of Matt Eich and Scott Dalton serve as guides to the social and cultural landscapes, rather than geographical features, of a region. Eich photographs the daily lives of the residents of Southeastern Ohio. His images provide insight into the poverty, unemployment, and substance abuse that plague the region. Dalton searches for the essence of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude while exploring contemporary Columbian culture. His photographs of the residents of Columbian seaside towns reveal a people who are joyful, resilient, and connected to the landscape and history of their country.
Inspired by the innovative works featured in this issue, we attempted to create our own visual map of spot. This publication would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of its contributors, artists, and staff. Mapping has become a part of our modern nature; in plotting the varied locations of our contributors, we feel that we have captured the true essence of this magazine.
– Bevin Bering Dubrowski and Alex Moore