In October of 2005, tragedy struck my family, demanding my attention and forcing me to reevaluate what was truly important to me. In “Inheritance,” 2005 I began to question the validity of my subjects and shifted my focus to more personal topics. Diane Arbus once said, “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” Beginning with my desire to find an image of my cousin after I had learned of his suicide, this piece reflects my frustrations with the unknown—both emotionally and with photography. It speaks to the irony of inheritance, of the incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the expected result. It deals with the paradox of the history of violence and how the closer we look into an event, the less we comprehend. With the use of linguistic and visual representations I examined the relationship between language, image and reality and how these mediums can complement and confuse actual and perceived experience.
All images © 2005 Shannon Benine