so i know its you
SO I KNOW ITS YOU is a continuation of previous work I've made in the past two years that revolves around my interest in Craigslist as an artistic and anthropological database. My primary interest is in the content people share on Missed Connections section of Craigslist. Selected posts from this section are the source material on which this project is based. Upon starting this project, I read hundreds of entries, looking for posts that were both emotionally and visually resonant to me. Once I decided upon which posts impacted me, I orchestrated scenes in front of my camera that are meant to emulate the details shared in people's descriptions. By making photographs about the experiences of strangers, I am trying to see through their eyes and feel some of what they are feeling. This work is an exercise in empathy.
I am drawn to the content of Missed Connections for a variety of reasons. From a purely stylistic understanding, I am interested in how people write. I am interested in what a writer reveals and what they don't.
But most importantly, I am interested in why people write. The conventions of Missed Connections allow people to speak anonymously. But at the same time, most people on Missed Connections want to be identified and are trying to identify others. In that attempt for identification, people tend to focus on details from specific moments of experience and hope that those details have the same value for someone else.
Many people use Craigslist as a platform to shout at no one and someone at the same time. Which leads me to believe that Missed Connections is about catharsis as much as it is about actual missed connections. Cathartic posts and inquiring posts have a certain shared quality -- both assert the significance of experience, even if that assertion goes unrecognized by the rest of the world. Something significant happened for the writer. Whatever they experienced was meaningful enough to write about, and to write in a public forum is a specific and loaded choice. Whatever a person's reason, there is an implicit attempt for community surrounding the experience they describe. This body of work serves as my attempt to honor that sentiment. The sentiment that leads people to reach out into nothing and hope for something back. The sentiment that emboldens people to resist transience and attempt to make what is fleeting, last just a little bit longer.
APPENDIX, a book of compiled Craigslist Missed Connections posts, including the posts on which these images were based, accompanies the images in this body of work. Please feel free to look at the digital version below.