An exploration of horrific imagery and contemporary societies attraction to it.
This thesis explores one aspect of society’s attraction to horrific imagery, and at- tempts to understand what compels us to vicariously experience death. An investigation of the photographer Weegee’s lifelong commitment to crime scene imagery, in particular how his photographs and persona were captivating enough to transition out of the realm of the tabloids and into the canon of ‘High Art,’ seems to demonstrate the cultural value of horrific images.
In my series, Evidence, I examine my own peculiar attraction to death. I use Weegee’s images as an initial point of departure however rather than including or even glamorizing the corpse I chose to omit it completely. The omission of the corpse is my way of contributing to the already present conversation without reiterating and confirm- ing the abundance of existing violent imagery. Each image in Evidence reads as a subtle homage to Weegee’s oeuvre through the use of his iconic objects such as a steamer trunk, a bucket of melons, or a marquee sign. Implied violence is also represented by splattered milk or crushed eggs while the absence of the corpse is replaced through the symbolic use of light. By doing this, I am able to reference acts of violence without perpetuating our culture’s desensitization to such imagery.