Art 597.01W Art Writing on Gender and Identity Issues

Blog posts for the Summer I 2015 class.

Bex Finch - Sleepwalker

Bex Finch - From Sleepwalker.

Bex Finch - From Sleepwalker.

Photographer Bex Finch is perhaps best known for beginning the popular Instagram hashtag “fromwhereistand.” The now ubiquitous images of feet shot from above by mobile phone cameras have proven to be a surprisingly enduring way of recording time, place and other details. It is the loss of all of these that inspired her most powerful work, however. “Sleepwalker” documents and explores the erosion of memory experienced by Finch’s father, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease shortly before his 60th birthday.

The photographs are presented on Finch’s website in two parts. The first set of photographs are a series of self-portraits, and the second part is a set of portraits of her father. A statement is presented as a third part of the series. It explains her father’s diagnosis and the reason she decided to take the photographs. She explains her approach to the portraits of her father, and how she hoped to present them in a straightforward and plain way. Finch said she sought catharsis through the self-portraits, depicting a lost person unaware of her surroundings. This is her personification of Alzheimer’s.

While the statement is brief, on-point, and captures her big ideal well, it could use elaboration and and context. Did anything serve as a photographic inspiration? Why did Finch choose to photograph self -portraits? Why did she not photograph herself together with her father? Does she intend for this to be a complete set of photos? Some kind of update on her father’s condition might also help. It would also be nice to know if she did any research on memory, or what other approaches she might have considered in arriving on this path.

Overall, the photographs and presentation are strong, and the statement gets to the core of the work. However, Finch has revealed more important details of the work in interviews elsewhere online, and it would be nice to see that added to her statement for those who might not see them otherwise. – Sleepwalker