I have long been aware that photography can be (and often is) manipulated to construct “reality.” For those who lead a life unconsidered, this medium seems to provide straightforward, accurate documentation of the scenes and subjects it allegedly “captures.”
But I know better … or at least I thought I did.
Enter Michael David Murphy’s blog UNphotographable in which the artist uses text to describe photos he did not take. My initial reaction to the first UNphoto I viewed/read (5.11.09) was cynical: “How am I to believe this really happened? The artist could have made this story up.” As someone who has learned to question the veracity of both photography and language, my implicit trust in the former over the latter surprised me.
Murphy’s blog presents effective writings whose status as UNphotos makes them conceptual art. Further, since they force the viewer/reader to grapple with knowledge that lies somewhere between definitions, in a space without boundary, they demonstrate the significance of successful conceptual art.