By Elizabeth Patterson
What’s in a name? Or, in this case, what’s in a back? Back is an exhibit featuring artworks solely photographed from behind. This removal from traditional photographic style gives us an interesting selection of photographs that seem to leave the audience with more questions than answers.
Themed art exhibitions are nothing new. Walking through a gallery viewing pictures all centered on one common leitmotif can help create a broader understanding of the artwork itself. Back is a unique concept in that it removes the photographer’s aim of identity through photos and instead creates anonymity. The images don’t necessarily link to each other through any other way than their shared theme. People and animals alike are featured, each with their own story, and photos range from sexual to innocent to simplistic.
Back presents an almost voyeuristic view of the subjects. A photo of a subject with a turned back can be interpreted as a closed-off moment, or a desire for privacy. This is perhaps heightened in pictures featuring naked bodies, or diminished in those featuring the subject with their head turned toward the camera. Nonetheless, the full spectrum of comfort is examined through the various photographs presented in the exhibit. The viewer simultaneously feels like an intruder in a private moment and a friend, juggling the two depending on what the photo calls for.