Heartened

The whole kit & doodle!

People on TV

Do you ever look at the faces of people on TV and wonder if you’re related?

I have a favorite artist. He is a photographer. His work is definitely not for everyone, but I am always moved by his pieces because I understand what is behind them. His name is Spencer Tunick. Don’t click on that link if you are uncomfortable with the idea of seeing hundreds of nude bodies in places like Grand Central Station.

Channels like HBO, Discovery, etc. have all done specials on Spencer’s “Installations.” He goes to a location and recruits people to be in his photographs. Notice that I did not say, “he recruits people to pose nude for him.” His work is not about showing nude people. He is not a pornographer. Unless you consider the naked body to be inherently sexual (which I don’t know how any parent can, otherwise we’d never bathe our babies), you will soon see there is nothing sexual about Spencer’s work.

I love his work. Fat, thin, black, white, brown, old, young, sick, healthy – everyone in between – he photographs them. Some of his installations have had thousands of participants – a sea of beautiful skin, the colors blending, as far as the eye can see.

HBO did a special, “Naked States,” about Spencer’s journey across the 48 contiguous states. I got to see it the other night. God, was it powerful. One segment in particular deeply touched me. Two women – one white, tall and thin with a closely shaved head – the other was black, short (in comparison), heavy. Both, beautiful. He had them pose standing on an American flag in the middle of a street in Boston with an empty lot full of garbage and refuse in the background. The way he had them pose together, the beauty of these two amazing women. Wow. HBO interviewed the black woman, who told a story of how she had been “jumped and raped” 6 months prior. She talked of how she felt that 90% of her self-healing came from participating in this effort with Spencer and the other woman. Listening to her speak, both when the shot was taken and then a few months later as follow-up was so powerful, so affirming. I am in awe of this woman’s quiet strength and power.

For another installation, this time in New York, Spencer had an overweight woman pose on the rocks on the banks of the Hudson. This beautiful woman spoke of how incredible the experience was, to look at her photographs and see her own beauty. It is one of many shots I want a print of for my walls.

As I watched her I thought, “she and I could be related,” because we looked a great deal alike. It makes me wonder…what if? What if that was one of my sisters? I’d be thrilled – my kinda gal, since I’d love to be in one of Spencer’s installations. She could be one of my sisters, and that is an amazing thought to me. I wish that others could understand what it is like to not know for sure.

Please don’t dismiss Spencer’s work based on anything I’ve written here. Examine it for yourself:

Spencer 1 Spencer 2 Spencer 3 Spencer 4

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February 9, 2006 - Posted by | Adoption Void

1 Comment »

  1. I’m coming clean – ever since I was a kid my mom told me that my birth mom was of Swedish descent and every year when the Olympics came on I’d watch the opening ceremonies and wait for the Swedes to come on and see if they looked like me. No, of course I don’t plan to do this on Friday…that would be silly. =)

    Comment by everyscarisabridge | February 10, 2006 | Reply


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