EUGENE, Ore. — The Lane Community College Art Gallery is proud to present, “The High School Yearbook Project,” an unique photo exhibition featuring the works of artist Evan Baden. The show opens Monday, Oct. 30. An artist’s lecture and reception will be held Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 4:00 p.m. in the gallery.
Artist Statement: “Since photography’s inception in the early part of the 19th century, the publics’ inclination is that photography is the ultimate truth- teller. The invention of a machine with the ability to capture a moment in reality–just as it existed–and preserve it for all time, allowing the viewer to both hold on to that moment as well as infinitely examine it visually. From the very earliest instances of photography, images always hid bits of truth from the viewer; whether Daguerre’s early images, with exposures so long the streets of Paris appear empty, or Bayard’s now famous selfie which purported to be a photograph of his own suicide.
Today, more than ever before, we are surrounded by lies. Even as the public–now living in the Photoshop age–has become more aware of the ability to manipulate an image, the common perception is still that the photographs they view are true.
“Social media complicates this relationship of the photograph and truth even further. Most social media platforms, especially those prominent among teens, rely on the photograph to carry the subject matter. Posts and status updates revolve around images, with the photographs serving as evidence of our travels, achievements, and popularity. But the world of social media is a world of half-truths, exaggerations, and outright lies.
“This is the world that today’s teens are attempting to grow up in. For those mired in this newfound environment, their reality is different from those whom have come before. Their entire history has been recorded through their parent’s Facebook accounts, and now they are adding and creating their own histories through a variety of social media platforms. Unlike the generation prior, for this group, there is no break from their friends–no time alone. If they are not involved face-to-face, they are following their friends virtually. This means that the biography of everyone they know is a composite of personal experiences with that individual and second-hand, virtual accounts. And since social media is a poster-curated selection, often involving embellishment and exclusion, those biographies become a composite of fact and fiction. No one is completely what they portray.
“These teens manage multiple online identities simultaneously as well as different real world identities with their family and friends. So, at this important time in one’s life, when one’s trying to find one’s own identity, how are they supposed to know what’s real? Or in this age where truth has become subjective, and facts have become unimportant, does what’s ‘real’ even matter?”
“The High School Yearbook Project, which was begun while an Artist-in-Residence at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, is a photographic body of work that delves into the fictional world that is social media and the difficulties of trying to grow up in a world where representation eclipses truth. Working with students at multiple local high schools, we create images as part of a yearbook for a singular, fictional high school.
“While the images that are made as part of the Yearbook utilize elements of my subjects’ lives, the context that those elements exist within is fictionalized. These images become “based on actual events” rather than factual documentation. The images are used to form connections between people who are not connected, and form a truth about the idea of growing up in a world where young people must manage multiple embellished identities. The series questions the reality of social media, the factuality of the images we consume through those platforms, and the difficulty of coming-of-age in a world where nothing is truly as it seems.”
The Lane Community College Art Gallery is located in Building 11, LCC main campus, 4000 E. 30th Ave., Eugene. The gallery features main and sister exhibit areas. Hours are Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For details call (541) 463-5419.
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