Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.
What if one’s right to privacy was just as valuable as visibility?
My work is concerned with the role of photography, a medium inherently about visibility, in the right that a person has to space for themselves. Depicted within domestic environments, pictured individuals are often obscured or located residually. Photographing individuals with their backs turned, eyes closed, or bodies obstructed, I consider privacy an expression of self-determination.
While the photographs tend to be made informally, the resulting ambiguity allows the picture plane a narrative multiplicity that engages and transcends its biographical origin. The dimensional elements, in addition to the caption text, assist in situating a photograph within and alongside multiple contexts, effectively extending the initial frame of the camera. Similar to how experiences are layered in memory, I consider how a singular moment may be recontextualized to glean something new or unplanned for.
I currently work in a non-series based way and create relationships between the images as they relate to formal and narrative concerns over time. To this end, I’ve begun outfitting my photographs with dimensional elements that recall domestic structures.
“Sssummmmmwhhhhhhhhhhere” (2018) references a window awning but the resulting structure is more ambiguous in function. This asked me to consider the use of it as an object unto itself, and not necessarily its full service to the image.
Instead of giving in to photography’s inclination to spectacularize, I use objects and photography toward a more sensitive representation of black and queer people.