Inner City (Signed)
Inner City (Signed)
Photographs: Joseph Mills
Text: Anne Tucker
Publisher: Nazraeli Press
Comments: Hardcover under illustrated dust jacket, 23,5 by 19 cm, black and white photographs. In very good condition except for a touch of wear on the dust jacket. Signed by the photographer.
According to Mills, "In my photographs, there’s not a lot of social setting, or group shots. Mostly you see individuals, and it’s because I see their condition, and I try to see myself in them. I’m trying to work out something inside of me." Joseph Mills: Inner City features more than 50 photographs, ranging in size from 8 x 10 inches to 11 x 14 inches. In 1999, Mills stumbled on a box of unexposed, long-expired photo paper. Sensing that this was the perfect means to explore a now buried history, he began to look back at his film negatives of the downtown area. Mills selected 75 images that he had never before printed. The expired paper yielded startling effects: the prints are a mix of unexpected colors, tonalities, and striations. Mills completed the effect by applying furniture varnish to the images, adding an historic and dreamlike feel to these scenes of the recent past. In addition to the 50 works from this series, the exhibition also includes approximately 10 related photographs, also made on the streets of Washington, DC. These photographs are coated in varnish and mounted to found objects, including lumber, suitcase lids, aluminum sheeting, pieces of furniture, and discarded architectural details such as doors.
"Mills wants each of his images to be seen as an object, not just a photograph," notes Paul Roth, Corcoran Assistant Curator of Photography and Media Arts. "He is making an explicit connection between the discarded artifacts and actual lives that are essentially discarded and marginalized. Through his work, he is melding people and their environment."
Born in 1951, Joseph Mills grew up in Washington, DC and has photographed the city extensively, beginning at age 15. A graduate of American University, Mills also studied at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. He has participated in a number of exhibitions in Washington, DC. Mills’ photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Texas), the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, DC), and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond, VA), among other museums. In addition to his personal projects, Joseph Mills is the longtime photographer at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC.
"Bearing witness to painful realities, Joseph Mills’ extraordinary photographs transcend documentary expression," adds Roth. "Mills’ perspective is compassionate and hopeful, and despite their often painful scenes of reality, his images are often characterized by an odd grace."
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