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Title:Photographs from the road: Inge Morath, Sophie Calle, Sally Mann and feminist road trip vision
Author(s):Shea, Laura Elizabeth
Director of Research:Weissman, Terri
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Weissman, Terri
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Romberg, Kristin; Rosenthal, Lisa; Kaganovsky , Lilya
Department / Program:Art & Design
Discipline:Art History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
road trip
Inge Morath
Sophie Calle
Sally Mann
feminist vision
Abstract:This dissertation analyzes the visual and narrative uncertainty pervasive throughout the American road trip photography, film, and writing of artists Inge Morath, Sophie Calle, and Sally Mann. I argue that road travel is central to the content and style of their photographic projects. I reframe these as projects done by traveling women, moving purposefully through space and performing American rituals that engage with a whole history of photography’s encounters with race and gender on and off the road. The obfuscating and fragmentary nature of these projects sustain tensions between seeing and not seeing and knowing and not knowing from the peculiar space and history of the road. Chapter one argues that Morath’s photographs from her 1960 trip with Henri Cartier Bresson challenge the tourist’s view of history by refusing to visualize the celebratory tropes associated with this white, middle-class, patriarchal experience. Instead, Morath pictures stifling interiors, visually confusing reflections, and diminutive landscapes to show the disorienting qualities of history that are suppressed in touristic experiences of the road. Chapter two analyzes Calle and Greg Shephard’s grainy, shaky, 1992 documentary road film as a way to understand Calle’s artistic filmic and photographic relationship to truth and autobiography. The third chapter considers Mann’s 1998 Deep South landscape photographs, shot over the course of three drives to Mississippi, as relics collected on an American-style pilgrimage to places of traumatic racial violence, including sites related to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. I term the strategies at work in the case studies as feminist road trip vision. I argue that this type of vision, inspired by embodied experiences on the road, thrives upon documentation, partiality, situated knowledge, and sharing. Feminist road trip vision is valuable in its very incompleteness and stays true to the partial and strange experiences of the road.
Issue Date:2020-07-08
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Laura Shea
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-07
Date Deposited:2020-08

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