At a flea market I found this dressmaker’s dummy, probably something from the 1950’s, and to my surprise I found myself wanting if for the still lives I was beginning to make. In fact at first I had a strong pull toward it, then walked away thinking, ‘this is crazy, Joel, what do you want that for’? What was it about the dummy? Why was it so strangely appealing to me? In my life as a photographer, making table top still life work was never something that called to me. Give me the street any day with its unpredictability, chaos, radical light conditions, and the joys of timing, which always made me concentrate more fiercely.
Yet, there I was, going back to the stall and standing in front of this mysterious figure again and wanting to take it home to see how it played with the other objects that were finding their way into my life. How can I explain it? Maybe it was a Magritte-like mystery that presented itself, or another echo coming to me from the Dadaists and Surrealists, who I loved when I was an art student nearly 60 years ago. Whatever it was it was strong enough to make me say yes to it and leave the rest to chance. That part is like the street which is all about chance.
On this day I put it up on the ‘teatrino’, my little theater-like set, and added some other objects that also have found their way to me, just to see what would happen in terms of scale, color, the various forms, and whatever meaning might emerge from their encounter. I have no answer as yet, just some ‘records’ of what things look like. Now it is time to look and wonder.