Photographs from the series In Thirty Eight Words or Less chronicle found words, messages, and symbolic structures created by frequently anonymous people in Southern California and the Southwest. Each image, isolated from its broader physical context, presents a message in a format that is instantly familiar in a culture increasingly dominated by targeted advertising and social media. The immediate effect is direct, but nuances emerge in surprising and sometimes humorous ways. From the word “Hero” spray-painted on the back of a billboard to “Gossip”, sky-written above the Rose Bowl, the photographs can be seen as a kind of public text messaging and a running commentary on the messages which the viewer must supply. Finally, as photographs, they address the ability of the medium to suggest truth while remaining irrevocably subjective.
January 23, 2016