Because it is You

Michael Chylinski


The genesis of my inscribed venacular snapshot project was the discovery, about fifteen years ago, of a relatively simple image, one I would likely have spent no more than a second or two taking in before moving to the next in the pile I was exploring. The addition of two words, however, transformed the photo into something almost novel-like. "Our hero," someone had written in red, capital letters at the bottom. The story behind the photo is unknown, but that's of course not the point anyway. Freed from their original contexts, these images with their fragments of text become a new sort of poetry to us. And whether tragic or humorous, pleading, romantic or any other number of things--including mundane--they are always deeply human. They also embody the unique sort of power and surprise an object can possess when created without the intention of being "art." I am drawn to the simple directness of both the images and inscriptions, and view them as understated yet profound records of the attempt to hold on to meaning in a world in which it is so fleeting. Finally, in rescuing these personal artifacts, I feel that I am in some sense honoring their creators. The people for whom the windmill was "indispensible," the boy in the baseball uniform soon to be drowned, the hero on the roof: they will not be forgotten.

Because It Is You Folio
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