Date on Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
College of Arts and Sciences
photography; American war; printmaking; papermaking
Photography’s power in capturing a moment in history is indisputable, but inevitably flawed. Assumptions of objectivity and truth are made that do not count for the bias of the photographer, or the bias of the viewer. These assumptions do not explain the warped effect of freezing life at a fraction of a second. Information is left outside the frame; stories are fragmented in their retelling. Certain historical photographs have become iconic over time. My interest lies in images of American battle, violence, and trauma; those that have political and propagandic weight. Coded, controversial, and inherently emotional, these photographs have become a part of our collective memory. Our recollection of the events they depict are contingent upon the images themselves. This essay is an exploration of photography as a fallible, beautiful, complex theoretical entity. I conduct this exploration through making art, using photographic processes as well as papermaking and printmaking to create composite art objects of my imagined experience of the photographs, prompting a dialogue between collective memory and individual perception. Through this practice, I gain a greater understanding of my country’s historical implication in war, and my relationship to this implication, as well as invite viewers of my work to examine their own responsibility in terms of the history of American violence and warfare.
Meurer, Cassidy, "An uncertain line: making art about photographs of American war and violence." (2019). College of Arts & Sciences Senior Honors Theses. Paper 236.
Retrieved from https://ir.library.louisville.edu/honors/236
What does it mean to make art about photographs of war and violence? How do artists ethically approach images of suffering, in order to actively engage with the content? What lines are crossed by appropriating iconic imagery in American history? Can we learn from these photographs, from this art practice?