I will bring a few prints of the the series On Transience this Saturday to the studio sale. It is more abstract work than my usual montages, but close to my heart, since it was the first leg in the ongoing project on displacement.
I was inspired by the transient nature of the immigrant experience, in place and emotion, to photograph objects in transition. The images of man-made materials found in trashcans, recycling centers, junk stores and shipyards, were to bring to mind the Jewish scrap peddlers from Eastern Europe who began to arrive in Oregon in the early 1900s. Some of these immigrants made their livings by gathering scrap metal that was cast off, discarded, and broken and by peddling it on the streets of Portland and other Oregon towns. A few of these peddlers eventually turned this “recycling” work into successful enterprises such as the shipyard, where I was photographing as well.
The montages emphasize the transient nature of the materials that historically provided some Jewish immigrants’ livelihood: iron, wood, plastic, paper, and steel. Contemporary immigrants too, regardless of how they made their livings back home, sometimes have no other choice than to turn to menial jobs, cleaning or working in the fields. I wanted to provide the viewer a way to contemplate the mobility of the lives of immigrants, from one land to another, from one life to another.
And given that it looks like we are now living in something akin to a banana republic, my thoughts are never far away from the concept of emigration – and the emotional and practical obstacles that are making it so unbelievably hard to leave your country. Then again (for balanced reporting) read this: a beautiful contemplation of two sorts of migration, from one country to another, from one status to another, after coming out. The writer’s experience let to the study of migratory art: http://therumpus.net/2017/11/torch-movement-its-depictions-and-two-way-tickets/?utm_source=Narratively+email+list&utm_campaign=9daeb705ae-MEMOIR_MONDAY_2017_10_23&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f944cd8d3b-9daeb705ae-66322689