Thursday, January 1, 2009

Photography of Jeffrey Silverthorne and Elizabeth Heyert

I first came face to face with this jarring, almost life-size photograph when I went to see a show called "Taken" at the Tartt Gallery in 1989. The catalog explains that they chose the name because lives and photos are both taken. This gelatin silver print by Jeffrey Silverthorne is called "Woman Who Died in Her Sleep." After seeing it, I contacted the artist to ask permission to reproduce it in The Corpse. He suggested that it had been overexposed (not in the photographic sense!) and sent me a sheet of slides from which I chose another not quite so striking image, but this one has always stuck with me.

When I was in Jim Schaefer's "Looking at Photography" course, we spent some time looking at these life-size images of the recently deceased by Elizabeth Heyert. Just as powerful, especially this man Daniel Rumph in blue and the lady in the blue dress Daphne Jones (not pictured), to the point where the name Elizabeth Heyert conjures up a neatly clothed body in blue, whereas the internal Jeffrey Silverthorne slideshow is always in black and white.

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