“Almost News” consists of hundreds of 8×10” black and white news photos dating from the 1930’s through the 1960’s. Chosen from the collection of artist and writer Jocko Weyland, the photographs in “Almost News” reflect the expression of one person’s sensibility in depictions of the weird, foolhardy, visionary and quietly heroic that make up the core of this archive. With their journeyman origins the images have an off-kilter appeal because they are decidedly not “great” photos in the classic sense, featuring mostly forgotten people, actions and things. Optimistic and hopeful, full of failed inventions and crackpot ideas, they are straightforward reports that upon further examination prove to be awash in ambiguous subtlety.
Taken during an era mostly devoid of an expectation of photographic manipulation, the photos are artifacts of a more innocent time when people still believed in photography’s veracity. A testament to the camera’s ability to bring in everything, these ostensibly straight factual documents can be mind-bogglingly complex because they depict the real past, the actual ideas and content, as opposed to a glossy superficial treatment.
The exhibition furthers the attempt to grapple with the intricacies of how history is portrayed by presenting copies of the photograph’s identifying captions. With their handwritten subject headings, typed descriptions, and jarring prejudices of the times intact, these descriptive texts offer a fascinating and didactic counterpoint to the deluge of visual information. Installed floor to ceiling, complete with library ladder providing access to higher domains, the photographs will wrap around the space to envelop the viewer with an onslaught of pictures and words in an aesthetic experience rife with cultural, artistic, and philosophical implications and revelations.