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  • Catalogue Essay

    Carrie Mae Weems has claimed that, more than a photographer, she is an “image maker.” The distinction between the two is important in understanding Weems’s work, since the latter term connotes a more proactive construction of the final image as well as explicitly recognizes the manipulated nature of a photograph. Early depictions of African Americans in Photography, as exemplified by the images in the series, is vastly steeped in discrimination, and in retrospect reveals far more about the anxiety of the photographers who had taken them and the socio-cultural zeitgeist of the time than the subjects’ “true” nature. By re-presenting the images in a circular frame that mimics the camera lens and tinting the images in a jarring color that commands attention, Weems removes the original photographers’ control of the image and positions herself in their place instead. Moreover, the inclusion of text imbues the image with an alternate narrative in which Weems, directly and emotively, addresses her subjects as victims and acknowledges their erstwhile status prior to their subjugation as slaves under the hands of their owners and “image makers” alike.

UNITED STATES

59

You Became Mammie, Mama, Mother, Then, Yes, Confident-Ha / Descending the Throne You Became Foot Soldier & Cook from From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried

1995
Two color coupler prints with sandblasted text on glass.
26 3/4 x 22 3/4 in. (67.9 x 57.8 cm).
Each signed, dated and numbered 8/10 in pencil on the reverse of the flush-mount.

Estimate
$12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for $20,000

AFRICA Theme Sale

15 May 2010
New York