I’m thinking about these pictures with Birdman on the brain. I saw it last weekend, and on the way home from the theater, I made the regrettable decision to read reviews about the film online. Without going into detail about the masses of negative reviews, I’ll say the consensus is that the movie essentially made people think about things they otherwise wouldn’t have thought about or were uncomfortable thinking about. I kept thinking, isn’t that the point of art; to make us question our world and experience things we aren’t often subjected to? To me, art that succeeds in doing those things warrants a positive review.
Like Birdman did for movie-goers who feel compelled to post reviews online, the photographs in Barbara Bosworth’s One Star and a Dark Voyage stir something in me. They give me a chill, make me feel on-edge. And I think it’s fantastic. The pictures are haunting, in the most literal/least cliche way. Maybe it’s the wolf, whose blurred face and tense posture cause me to recall the Antichrist “chaos reigns” fox that’s never left my memory, or the ghostly dogs barking up a tree; they instantly remind me of the remains of Sally Mann’s dog. The bear paws, which look so much like human hands, certainly put knots in my stomach. (I wonder if Cig Harvey has seen the Swan image, made in 1995, and if The Funeral, Goose River is her response. I truly love connections like these in photography.)
In Natural Histories, the pictures are affecting to the same degree. Some keep me staring. With a removed reference to water, the fish looks like it is floating, hovering in a jar of air. The bird is photographed from just the right perspective, in just the right position to insinuate flight. Each image makes me think about time; at a standstill, or passing, quickly or slowly.
Visit artist's site: barbarabosworth.com