Friday, July 30, 2010

The Seeds of "Contraband"

 Oxalis tuberosa, Peru (prohibited).

The NYT Lens Blog features a beautiful writeup on photographer Taryn Simon's latest project, "Contraband," which will be coming out as a monograph with Steidl in the fall and is being featured as a portfolio in The New York Times Magazine.

Miki Meek of Lens Blog writes:
Passengers, airliners, workers, baggage, cargo, taxis and trains flow ceaselessly through Kennedy International Airport.

Taryn Simon recorded another ceaseless flow — one the public rarely sees: contraband detained and seized from international flights.

These include items ranging from the bizarre (a deer penis?) to the disgusting (unkown meat, or a bird corpse) to the usual suspects (drugs, etc.).  But, what I find really interesting is the genesis of the project – one photo from Simon's earlier body of work.  Simon says:
The idea for the project emerged from a 2006 session photographing seized food in the same terminal for “The American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.” In this book, Ms. Simon made the inaccessible accessible, from C.I.A. headquarters to the den of hibernating black bears.
It's always interesting to find out what an artist may have been dwelling on for years that forms the seed of a new project.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Contraband Room, 
John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens, New York.

No comments: