Crying Men


Feministing had a very cool post today about a series of photographs by Sam Taylor-Wood called "Crying Men." It features famous male actors 'act-crying' (or 'cry-acting'). This is from nzartmonthly:
As well as criticising the portraits for the actors' 'phoney' emotions, critics have slammed Taylor-Wood's use of celebrities. Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones was even prompted to enter the nonsense 'but is it art' debate: "How long can this art flaunt its fake tan and still be praised as the real thing?" More recently, The Listener's Aaron Kreisler suggested the pictures might be better displayed in a glossy magazine.
However, the use of celebrities extends the photos. Celebrities are people whose gestures, voices and expressions we have shared knowledge of. This knowledge empowers the viewer to animate the subjects in our minds. What will they do next? What are they thinking? Who are they crying for?
"In one sense, we know very well who the celebrities are crying for. In her presentation of the photos to the public, Rachel Kent, curator of Taylor-Wood's work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, mentioned how the artist differentiated her photos from images of the actors caught on film on any old day on set. Suggesting that the very change of medium and the different context for display were sufficient to generate novelty, Taylor-Wood said, 'I wanted them to cry for me'. She asked the actors to cry for her as a photographer and as a fine artist. But most pressingly, she asked them to cry as attendees at her funeral. She has each actor enter her living room and lay a flower on her coffin. Taylor-Wood, who could so easily have died at the turn of the century, thanks them for their condolences, snaps photos of the self pity she weeps through their eyes and offers the images to us. Saddened by the actors, we, in turn, mourn for her." 

Above is the photographer herself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that people complain about the phoniness of crying, but people "fake smile" for photos all the time. Smiling at a camera is just the "normal" and acceptable thing to do. Crying is more personal perhaps, so people are offended when it is contrived. Consider this - most emotions captured on film are for the benefit of the photographer, not a true measure of feeling.