Lee Grant – Photography Blog

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Beyond history and the poetics of the everyday

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This quote is taken from a new book called Beyond History by Belgian photographer Vincent Delbrouck.

“I love to use the term poetic documentary to discuss my work. Something never finished, always recycled and definitely fragmented and anomalous, full of flowers, women and familiar bodies. Like a collection of poems, not a novel….I think art should not document reality, but (re)compose it. It is a way of dealing with life and photography; the real and the imagined, the past and the present, the liberty and the immobility. Just to question our love, our faces, our lives, as fragments in a strange family album with lonely figures and objects. Each of them interacting with the others, not only inside the pictures and compositions…”




beyondhistory2008-09-10_page_036Selection from the book Beyond History: Havana 1998 – 2006 by Vincent Delbrouck

I completely agree. My recent work Belco Pride is fashioned in this regard and is premised on the idea that one can visually construct a poem. I suppose it’s an ode to where I grew up and where I live. Not a survey or an ethnography and not quite a documentary (though it clearly could be), the process has been incredibly cathartic. Another quote which has had a huge impact on the way in which I work is the following one by  Professor A.C Bradley who lectured in Poetry at Oxford University from 1901 – 1906:

The nature of a work of art is to be not a part, nor yet a copy of the real world (as we commonly understand that phrase), but a world in itself, independent, complete, autonomous; and to possess it fully you must enter that world, conform to its laws, and ignore for the time the beliefs, aims and particular conditions which belong to you in the other world of reality.

Perfectly brilliant. After all, poetry can be found in all kinds of nooks and crannies and certainly in the myriad possibilities of our everyday realities.

scan_1_8Mikaela and Brittany from the series Belco Pride

blue_zola_a3editBlue Zola at the Charny Carny from the series Belco Pride

lee012Leni from the series Belco Pride

Written by Lee Grant

April 27, 2009 at 12:20 pm