The Meaning of Various News Photos to Ed Henderson

1973, 15 min, b&w, sound

Writes Baldessari: "For most of us, photography stands for the truth. But a good artist can make a harder truth by manipulating forms. It fascinates me how I can manipulate the truth so easily by the way I juxtapose opposites or crop the image or take it out of context." Here he introduces eight news photos to Ed Henderson — ranging in subject matter from geese at the zoo to an accidental electrocution — and asks him to identify them. Henderson's associative responses suggest the projection of unconscious desires and fears onto these arbitrary images, which are removed from their original contexts. The implied narratives that emerge from the seemingly random juxtapositions and sequences of photographs give rise to questions of manipulation, inference and meaning.

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