Page 5 - The Album Project
P. 5
holidays. Dressed in an array of t-shirts, shorts, and ath- letic shoes, Isaac is shown isolated against a pure white background, as if to say these clothes, this body, and the photographs are a world unto themselves, the spare con- tours of an island self. In this respect they resemble other series of photographs by Mintz, like his views of Lake Erie or of Venice Beach in Los Angeles, which sometimes use infra-red film to evoke psychological isolation, embedded in a pared-down world of minimal forms. Such an unsen- timental, even tough, poetics of alienation has tended to be part of the vocabulary of contemporary art and of the modern psyche in general, and seems especially appro- priate to convey something about the quality of autism. Serial photography, also – the documentation of repeti- tions, cycles and sequences evoking obsessive, proto- scientific taxonomies, explores similar psychic territory. Andy Warhol said of his photographs, “A picture means I know where I was every minute.” Mintz’s photographs of Isaac speak of the infinity of increments of behavior and circumstance that cohere to gradually form a self, and a life.Most of the photos in the exhibition are quite large, andone, printed on canvas, is huge. All show Isaac in basically the same pose, but over a series of separate sessions in 2008. Looking a little more closely, we see changes. Isaac’s expression becomes more self-possessed, his resemblance to his father more pronounced. Considered superficially they speak of Isaac’s growth, the usefulness of the Polaroid to that process of maturation and growing comfort with the project. But more than that they evoke the fugue-like structure of the human mind, as themes are repeated and elaborated over months and years. Mintz’ portraits of his son move slowly forward, season by sea- son, like core samples of selfhood.Most of all Charles Mintz’s photographs describe the monolithic presence of Isaac in his father’s life. Though in- flected with unusual difficulties in this case, that’s the way it is for almost everyone. If parents are giants to their chil- dren, the children also are colossal, looming ever larger in their parents’ concern. In this way there is a rare, universal humanity in the images Mintz presents here.

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