Moving Spectacles - Espectaculos Que (con)Mueven
Documentary Photography examines the stories of others and their circumstances. Often associated with reportage, the photographer attempts to disappear behind the lens, telling us a story that is intended to be read as Truth, as if what one sees in the image is indisputable and certified. Because of the nature of the medium, it is easy to accept that what ones sees is authentic. Yet, by the same token, we know that "truth" can be modified, altered, enhanced, and distorted to fit one's, or another's, less apparent agenda.
I define my work as personal documentary because, although inspired by the lives of those I seek out, I do not speak for them. I do not choose to tell us how they feel, what their lives are like, nor do I define them in any way. Rather my photographs allow us to scrutinize each person with whom I had an intimate personal photographic experience and I invite the viewer to join me.
In this exhibition, selections from the photographic portfolio, Moving Spectacles, I followed the street lives of subjects in Lima, Perú, itinerants mainly, six nomadic family circuses, various street performers, and the annual parade in Lima's mental asylum, Larco Herrera.
During my stay in Lima, I visited the far outreaches of the city, San Juan de Lurigancho, Comas, Callao, to name a few places. Accompanied by a driver and my photo assistant, I used my ancient Rolleiflex and Hasselblad with 120 film to image what for me were spectacles that moved around in a literal sense and that, more importantly, moved me personally.
The struggles and pains of my subjects are not for me to expose, although the photographs allow us the opportunity to imagine a life different from our own. One cannot say the photograph examines "reality," but it presents us with an image, a moment, refined by one's own filters: time sifted, distilled, maybe clarified.
For me, each subject is a mystery, one to approach with humility and respect, and one I ask the viewer to approach with a like sensibility. In this personal documentary work, I speak only for myself.
Liese Ricketts, Chicago, 2015