Sunday, January 25, 2009

Taking Shape

It’s been an exciting few days as J and I have begun fleshing out this project. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to find someone with whom collaboration is so effortless and whose every artistic idea resonates so fully with your own. I have had that good fortune with J. When we start bouncing ideas off each other, the energy is engrossing, inspiring and infectious, which explains why I am up writing at midnight when I was supposed to be sleeping an hour ago. Two of the many concepts circulating in our conversations of late are those of subject identification and both written and recorded documentation. By subject identification, we draw our inspiration from Levi Ward’s "At Work" series.

I came across Ward’s site because he was lovely enough to credit me when using one of my photographs on his blog. As I wandered through the content of his other posting, including his At Work series, my eye was caught by the captions that went with his photographs, each telling of his subjects’ various professions. It was a small but captivating detail, one that both J and I felt would greatly further the aims of our own project.

Kissing Strange is about dissolving borders and boundaries through the act of strangers kissing. By definition, the stranger you kiss is someone you know nothing about: their background, persuasion and social standing are all a mystery to you. How wonderful then for both viewer and subject to discover that a Christian had just kissed a Muslim, a rich man kissed a poor man, a Democrat kissed a liberal, a heterosexual kissed a homosexual, etc.? How wonderful to see each person momentarily step out of the box that defines them? While these interactions will never be forced or manipulated, I suspect we brush up against those who, on paper, we believe we have nothing in common with far more often than not, which goes to show that sometimes our humanity is all we need to have in common to co-exist. Sometimes humanity is enough.

At its heart, this is a documentary project, "a means," as J put it, "to understand the kiss as one of the most important features of human behavior." As much as I hope our photographs will accurately illuminate each individual story and interaction, it would be a shame in a time of such technological accessibility to rob our subjects of their own voices. With that in mind, we will also do our best to collect as much oral documentation by way of interviews and actualities as possible to accompany these photographs and help better tell their stories.

With all that said, it is officially way past my bedtime.
Merry blogging to all, and to all a goodnight.

Because we're all family

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