Daniel Cooney Fine Art presents the debut solo exhibition of Michael Joseph’s photographs titled Lost and Found. The 27 large-scale black and white photographic portraits represent people living on the fringes of society who travel the country by train hopping or hitch hiking. Their transient lifestyle has its own history, language and code of conduct. While Joseph’s subjects have consciously removed themselves from mainstream society, living without an address or steady income, they form a large and complex community. In a traditional manner, Joseph photographs on the street, modeling one or two people against non-descript walls as backgrounds, yet the viewer senses that the community is vast.
Joseph excludes his subject’s environments but his images provide numerous clues about reality for the travellers. Many boast their stick-and-poke tattoos on their bodies and faces that offer information about their adventures, travels and affiliations. Their clothes are often hand made, patch worked and rooted in the crust punk tradition and hobo history. The viewer notices certain symbols repeated: a moonshine jug, the A in a circle logo of anarchy, train tracks and squatter’s rights emblem among others.
At first glance the subjects of Joseph’s lens are striking and confident young people, photographed in natural light, maintaining eye contact as the photographer stands just feet away. Upon further looking the viewer might start to notice healing bruises, scars, dirt caked on clothing and hands or other indicators of a life spent on the road and sometimes on the run. While not blatant, there are clues of problems including physical abuse, substance abuse, lack of medical care, loss of friends and family. Ultimately Joseph’s photographs celebrate the courage and freedom of lives spent on their own terms.
Michael Joseph is a Boston based photographer who has been traveling around the country,working in this community for almost nine years. He is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana and many prestigious private collections. Joseph has exhibited his work internationally and has been featured on CNN, VICE and Feature Shoot.
Michael Joseph : Lost and Found
February 28 – April 13, 2019
Daniel Cooney Fine Art
508 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001