Taryn Simon – Observing hidden and unfamiliar things

She has been here for awhile, and we have been totally unfamiliar with her work until recently.
Her work explores the things you may not know.
As it gets laid out in her book, An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar, there are things and places that are hidden in plain site, so to speak, but once you know the origins and explanations of the subjects, the experiential skew shifts, dramatically.

We are not usually fans of the photographs that are supplanted by accompanying text, to make their point felt.

Taryn Simon’s work has changed our mind a bit.

From her work called The Innocents, a series of portraits of men who had been vindicated of crimes, after serving prison time.
The men are shown in the places where they were suspected of committing the crimes, and the viewer’s interaction with these people, in such a soul wrenching return to the scene, is further amplified by the interview write-up on the opposite page of each image.

The coupling of the 2 elements create an experience which bring you back to each image and uncontrollably has you share in an injustice. Or the feeling of injustice. The situations are relayed with a full dose of an innocent life being kept in jail for too long.

It becomes an indictment of a societal ill to require a speedy resolution to the horrors of the crimes. In one case, prosecutors had a 4 year old photo presented to a witness so the age of the suspect was a better match to the description of the perpetrator.

There is a stillness in the images that is surface only.

For her next work, she took on a different set of hidden truths.

Cryopreservation Unit
Cryonics Institute
Clinton Township, Michigan

This cryopreservation unit holds the bodies of Rhea and Elaine Ettinger, the mother and first wife of cryonics pioneer, Robert Ettinger. Robert, author of “The Prospect of Immortality” and “Man into Superman” is still alive.

The Cryonics Institute offers cryostasis (freezing) services for individuals and pets upon death. Cryostasis is practiced with the hope that lives will ultimately be extended through future developments in science, technology, and medicine. When, and if, these developments occur, Institute members hope to awake to an extended life in good health, free from disease or the aging process. Cryostasis must begin immediately upon legal death. A person or pet is infused with ice-preventive substances and quickly cooled to a temperature where physical decay virtually stops. The Cryonics Institute charges $28,000 for cryostasis if it is planned well in advance of legal death and $35,000 on shorter notice.

© Taryn Simon

These are the things and places that she has gained access to, and using the pure photographic medium to it’s fullest, shows us the still images of what exists in out world but is hidden from view.

Here is a talk she gave at the famous TED conference (we recommend checking their videos on a regular basis)

We are giving away her book, The Innocents, this week to one of our NEWSLETTER subscribers. If you are signed up by Tuesday, Aug. 3, end of day EST, you will be eligible to win a free copy of this book from us.
No boxtops, no coupon codes, no money, nothing like that is needed. Speed is not the issue, but there is a time frame.
Random.org picks the winner, not us.
We will ask a question, and point you to the answer on the website.
The details will be in the email being sent on Weds. Aug. 4, at 9:00AM PST

So why do think we you may want this book?
Well, the depth of these apparently simple images, powerfully struck us from the time the book arrived.
Research on Taryn Simon, pulled up the rest.
Relatively young, her work is being exhibited all over the world, including the Whitney Museum in NYC.
Even Charlie Rose interviewed her.

All we’re saying is that you should take a look, and perhaps you’ll be as intrigued as we were.

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  • 10012
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  • Museum of Modern Art
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  • February 8–October 5, 2014
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