Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dear Stranger

This week, I saw a new exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary ArtSkyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity.  A small part of the exhibit was three photographs from the project "Dear Stranger" by artist Shizuka Yokomizo.  For this project, Yokomizo made portraits of residents in ground floor apartments in Berlin, New York, Tokyo and London from outside their windows.  The twist is that she did not know these people; she simply left notes on their doors.

Dear Stranger,
I am an artist working on a photographic project which involves people I do not know...I would like to take a photograph of you standing in your front room from the street in the evening.
The notes went on to state a date and time for the person to stand in front of the window - alone - or draw the curtains to show refusal to participate.  Because she took the photos in the dark, the people could not see her, only their own reflections in the windows.

Studying the portraits, I imagine the mixed emotions the subjects must have been feeling.  This idea is fascinating to me and makes me want to begin a photographic project, to go beyond documenting whatever happens to be in front of me.